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19 Ways to Help Children Fighting Cancer

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and while the issues and obstacles may seem overwhelming, there are little things you can do to Go Gold 4 CURE and help children with cancer. Whether you donate to advance research, display a gold bow, or share a Facebook post, many small actions can work together to make a big difference.

To help you narrow it down, here are 19 things you can do for children with cancer.

1. Get a gold bow for your mailbox – these beautiful bows share CURE with everyone driving past your house. Thanks to your incredible generosity, we are sold out for 2021 in Atlanta.

There are still bows available for Bryan County, Bluffton, and Effingham County HERE.

2. Host a Coins4CURE coin drive in your office or child’s school. Coins4CURE has made more than $370,000 for CURE one quarter at a time. Sign up at Coins4cure.org.

3. CURE’s Kids. Every day during September we share the stories of kids who have fought cancer. Our homepage will rotate daily to the featured pictures with links to their story and we will share them on our social media. Take a minute to read about these heroes, donate if you’re able, and share them with your friends.

4. We have businesses all over the state that are partnering with us during September. All month long, you can get a burger, enjoy chicken salad, or splurge on a donut that benefits CURE. Click HERE to support the businesses that support CURE.

5. Restaurants and businesses also host percentage nights where a portion of the proceeds from your purchase will benefit CURE. Take a look at our Calendar and make plans to visit those around you.

6. Do you own or frequent a business that would GoGold4CURE for a percentage night? We will provide everything you need to get started. Simply contact Kristen Rudio at [email protected] if you have an idea!

7. Start a Facebook Fundraiser. This is a great way to share our cause with your friends and family while raising important funds to help. Click HERE to set yours up.

8. Visit the CURE Store. By buying and wearing a CURE t-shirt, hat, or necklace, you are helping us to conquer childhood cancer while sharing the mission at the same time. Shop Now!

9. Add CURE’s September logo to your emails and everyone you email will know you support CURE. Click HERE to download. Be sure to link it to http://gogold4CURE.org.

10. If you are involved with a school, try to plan a Gold-Out Games. Most schools have been affected by pediatric cancer in some way and this is a great way to energize students for a good cause. Contact Kristen Rudio at [email protected] for more information.

11. Love golf? There are two golf tournaments benefiting CURE on September 24. Enjoy a round of golf in the 32 annual Golf Classic for CURE in Covington or the HRA Foundation Charity Tournament in Villa Rica and support CURE at the same time.

12. Add a donation sticker to a post or story on Instagram. Click HERE for instructions.

13. Grab your sneakers and run a 5k in Athens. The 5k for Kappy will be a special race in memory of Catherine Williams that benefits CURE. This race is moving to the spring due to COVID-19 concerns. Information about a virtual race in September will be available soon on our social media and HERE.

14. Add our Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Facebook Frame to your profile picture. We will share it on Facebook at the beginning of September.

15. Download our September poster and hang it up at your favorite stores and restaurants. Click HERE to download.

16. Get your car washed in loving memory of Lake Bozman in Marietta on September 11. Click HERE for details.

17. Send our Text-to-Give link to five friends and tell them to text FIGHT to 443211 – it’s that easy!

18. Follow us and share our posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. This is an easy way to help us get the word out.

19. Host your own lemonade stand, chili cookoff, or other neighborhood event. The sky is the limit to what you can do. You can do it all yourself or use our handy DIY Fundraising site!

September is an important month for CURE, and we can’t do it alone. But with everyone working together, we can really make a difference for kids this year! If you need any help or direction, please reach out – we would love to talk to you. Please email Kristen Rudio at [email protected].

Gunner’s Back in Motion

Two-year-old Gunner lives just outside of Savannah and spends his time trying to keep up with his five older siblings. It’s a full-time job, but he is in constant motion and doesn’t let anything get him down. Last August, he had sporadic fevers and stomachaches but still kept moving as best he could. His mother, Ciji, chalked it up to teething and the typical ailments a toddler gets. She wasn’t really worried about him until one day when she was rocking him and felt a bulge on his side.

“I knew something was very wrong when I felt that bulge, so took him to his pediatrician the next day,” recalled Ciji. “She said his blood counts were off and thought he might have leukemia. Our next stop was the emergency room.”

That news was terrifying for Ciji but proved to be incorrect. Scans and bloodwork revealed that leukemia wasn’t the culprit; Gunner had a Wilms tumor. At the hospital, a whole new set of rules were in place because of the pandemic, and Ciji was the only parent able to be with him. This meant that she had to tell her husband, Cody, about Gunner’s diagnosis over the phone.

“That was hard on both of us,” Ciji said. “Cody wanted to be in the hospital with us, and Gunner certainly wanted his daddy with him. We both understood why the precautions were necessary. But that didn’t make being alone to get that news any easier.”

A Wilms tumor is a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. Gunner’s was situated on his right kidney. By the time it was discovered, the tumor was enormous. His medical team rushed him to surgery with the hopes of removing the tumor along with his kidney. But the tumor was so large it had roots attached to vital organs, so they couldn’t even remove enough for a biopsy. Gunner was put on a six-week chemotherapy regimen with the hopes of shrinking the tumor so surgery would be possible.

A scan after the chemo showed that the tumor had shrunk significantly, making surgery possible. Doctors removed the tumor along with his kidney and a few lymph nodes. Even after the chemo, the tumor was the size of a softball!

Gunner’s surgery was followed by another six weeks of chemo and radiation to kill any remaining cancer cells, so the tumor never returns.

The pandemic added much stress to Gunner’s treatment. While his three oldest siblings wanted to be home to help, they were in school while Gunner was immunocompromised. One of his brothers was exposed to the virus and had to quarantine away from home. Fortunately, he didn’t contract COVID, but the family knew they had to keep him away to protect Gunner’s health.

Gunner recently completed his treatment and is back to chasing his siblings around the house. With six kids, there is always something going on. While Ciji looks forward to getting back to normal, her experience with pediatric cancer has opened her eyes to a whole new world.

“I know Gunner’s treatment has been relatively easy,” she said. “I sometimes feel guilty when I see other kids who aren’t doing as well. I’m very thankful for his health and I realize that we are blessed. I hope our story can encourage other people to stay positive when they get horrible news.”

Looking Ahead to a New Year

I had childhood cancer in 1971 when I was less than two years old. At the time, the doctors gave my parents a poor prognosis for my survival due to the rapid spread of an aggressive rhabdomyosarcoma tumor. But my parents refused to accept the reality that there was nothing else that could be done. It was then that they had the good fortune of meeting Dr. Abdel Ragab, a young doctor at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He gave my parents hope when they had little left. He told them not to give up – that there were still options for treatment that might save my life.

Due to his guidance and encouragement, I began a chemotherapy treatment that was a clinical trial. (Consequently, this trial happens to be the standard treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma today.) I also received the maximum dose of radiation which allowed doctors to remove the tumor threatening my life. As a result of these treatments, I beat the odds and survived. Since then, my life has included multiple surgeries, hospital stays, and procedures to address the side effects from the treatment that saved my life.

Dr. Ragab founded CURE Childhood Cancer in Atlanta in 1975, shortly after leaving St. Louis, where he treated me. Unfortunately, I lost track of Dr. Ragab over the years and hadn’t talked to him since my wedding, which he attended in 1998. Kristin Connor, Executive Director of CURE, called me in 2017 and asked if I would be willing to present Dr. Ragab the Spirit of Hope Award at the Believe Ball. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity. I was excited to see him again and honored to present him with an award to recognize his many contributions and his career dedicated to fighting childhood cancer. My parents flew to Atlanta, and we presented him the Spirt of Hope Award together as a surprise. As you can imagine, it was a powerfully emotional reunion. Unfortunately, Dr. Ragab lost his own battle with cancer less than a year later.

Due to Dr. Ragab’s tireless work, CURE has invested over $32 million over the last ten years in research to help save children like me. I joined CURE’s Board of Directors to help carry forward Dr. Ragab’s legacy and support CURE’s mission to cure childhood cancer in our lifetime. Until we achieve that mission, CURE will continue to support families during their most challenging time while advancing research that not only improves the outcomes for children but also reduces the life-long impact of today’s harsh treatments.

Dr. Ragab had an unwavering belief that childhood cancer can and will be conquered. It is this belief that saved my life and I will spend the remainder of it working to make his vision a reality. I hope you will join us in this critical mission!

With Hope,

Matthew Gephardt
President, CURE’s Board of Directors

Surviving and Thriving

In 2010, Rachel Wang was excited to start first grade. She loved reading, arts and crafts and enjoyed every day until early October when her parents noticed that she looked very tired and pale. They thought she might be wearing herself out with her new schedule but decided to take her to the doctor anyway.

“When we got to the pediatrician’s office, Rachel’s hemoglobin was so low that we were sent right away to the hospital,” recalled Rachel’s mother, Amy. “The next day, our sweet Rachel was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.”

Rachel had a port put in her chest to administer chemotherapy, and her treatment began right away. She went into remission quickly but had to endure the standard treatment, which lasted two and a half years.

“Rachel was strong girl and didn’t have major side effects,” said Amy. “When she wasn’t in the hospital, she was in school and seemed to feel pretty good. We know that we were very lucky.”

During that time, Rachel’s community and school were incredibly supportive. Rachel liked to wear sparkly hats to cover her bald head, and all of the girls in her class decided to wear the same hats so that she wouldn’t feel left out. Her teacher made sure the boys were able to encourage her also and got them “fight back” camouflage hats to wear! Even though it was a difficult time, Rachel has a lot of good memories of all the notes friends wrote to her and the support she received.

“Rachel stayed as active as possible during her treatment,” Amy said. “She always enjoyed sports and she started to focus on tennis at that time.”

As it turns out, she is very good at it. She just finished her junior year and played for the North Gwinnett High School team that won its region and advanced to the state playoffs. Rachel was undefeated this season and recently received the Al Parker Award for Junior Player of the Year by USTA Georgia. She also excels off the court. She won the Positive Athlete Regional Award this year and has been awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award each year since sixth grade for performing more than 200 hours of community service each year.

“Rachel wants to give back and serve others,” said Amy. “She has been very active in school and has volunteered with organizations that assist children with cancer. Rachel has worked to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer and plans to continue to do so in the future.”

 

 

June is National Cancer Survivor Month and an opportunity for all cancer survivors to celebrate their milestones and recognize those who have supported them along the way. Our goal at CURE is that every child diagnosed has the chance to live out their dreams like Rachel, and we are thrilled to see her thriving!

Crucial Members of the Team

While we rightfully acknowledge and applaud the doctors and nurses who care for the precious patients we serve, they aren’t the only members of the healthcare team who work so hard to return children to health. This month, we celebrate two important members of the team who don’t always get the recognition they deserve.

March is Social Work Month, and a social worker is an essential resource for a family fighting pediatric cancer. Kristin Frazier has been a social worker at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for 11 years. Her focus is on children fighting leukemia or lymphoma, and she works with families from the moment of diagnosis.

“Our primary role is to provide emotional support,” Kristin said. “It’s hard to think clearly when you’ve just been told your child has cancer. So I will visit with them often in the beginning to act as a bridge between the medical team and the family to make sure they understand the plan.”

Balancing life and cancer treatment can be a nightmare, so the second aspect of the social workers’ job is logistical. Families have to quickly learn how to manage things such as school for the patient and siblings, insurance, work, and finances. Social workers connect families with resources needed to cope with all of these newfound pressures. CURE is one of those resources.

“The cost of cancer treatment is so high it can affect a family of any income level,” said Kristin. “CURE is responsive to any need we identify, from emergency financial assistance to lodging and counseling. Being able to reduce the stress of a family in treatment is huge.”

Kristin said the ultimate win in her job is seeing a child finish treatment and ring the bell. But even during tough days, there are things that encourage her.

“Seeing a child who pushes through things that are really hard or watching a family come together to make difficult decisions is gratifying.”

March is also National Child Life Month. A child life specialist wears many hats in the patient journey. Becca Doobrow has been a child life specialist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for four years. As a youngster, she raised money for children fighting cancer and knew she wanted her life’s work to be in pediatric oncology.

According to Becca, there are five main roles that the child life specialist plays.

  1. Decrease anxiety and fear when a patient is admitted and to help normalize the hospital setting through play and therapeutic activities.
  2. Help children cope through medical procedures and provide a distraction as the procedure gets started.
  3. Make a child feel empowered by explaining their diagnosis and treatment in terms they can understand.
  4. Help connect siblings throughout the hospital experience, which has been incredibly difficult during the pandemic.
  5. Provide bereavement and legacy-building opportunities for parents should the worst happen.

“Watching a child you’ve been working with since diagnosis ring the bell is incredibly fulfilling,” Becca said. “But it is very rewarding when I help a child who is really scared about a procedure cope with their anxiety.”

Ultimately, her goal is for the patient to gain the skills to cope with procedures and treatments on their own. Even if the child can cope, there is still room for a child life specialist.

“I try to be a consistent part of the patient’s treatment,” Becca said. “I want to do one fun little thing with all of my patients every day to bring them up.”

There are many members of the team that make sick children well. This month, we recognize and thank the social workers and child life specialists who work with the patients and families we serve.

Get After Leukemia

Hank Steed’s college career started off with a bang. Early in his second semester, Hank began suffering from a headache. When it lingered a couple of days, he decided he should get a COVID test. As the pain intensified, he went to an urgent care facility that sent him on to the emergency room.

Hank attends Mercer University in Macon, which is about two and a half hours away from his hometown of Bowdon, Georgia. Since he was alone, his father, Noah, was advising text while he waited to see what was wrong.

“The hospital ran a few tests and everything came back okay except they told him his white blood cell count was elevated,” said Noah. “While he was waiting for more results, he got word that his COVID test was negative. At that point I got in the car to be with him because I knew we were looking at something more serious than a headache.”

As soon as Noah arrived at the hospital, a hematologist sat he and Hank down and told them that Hank had t-cell leukemia. Due to his age, Hank was transferred to an adult hospital in Atlanta to begin treatment. But this form of leukemia is typically considered a childhood disease. So on the advice of their family doctor, Hank and his family opted to accept an offer to transfer to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“It’s a little weird being in a children’s hospital,” laughed Hank. “But because of COVID, I would have had to go through treatment alone at the adult hospital. I don’t think I could have handled that. Sometimes it’s nice to be treated like a kid, and this is definitely one of those times.”

As he started treatment, the family moved from shock into fight posture.

“I knew right away that I wanted to get after leukemia, and not just my case,” said Hank. “I want to get after it for every kid.”

As friends and neighbors asked how they could help, Hank decided to raise money by selling t-shirts. His hometown community and friends in college bought more than 400 of them, raising $3000. Since he met CURE while being served meals in the hospital, Hank planned on donating the money until his father had another idea.

“I explained the concept of leverage to Hank,” Noah said. “I told him that he could donate that money, or he could use it to make more money by issuing a challenge to our community to match their donations up to $3000.”

Hank’s fraternity brothers & little sisters

So Hank issued the challenge and reached his goal almost immediately!

“It’s been insane,” Hank said. “We keep getting donations from friends, family, schools, and even complete strangers. Our community has been great. Just seeing all the love and support we are getting is overwhelming at times.”

Hank finally got to go home after his initial hospital stay. He had to withdraw from school because of his diagnosis and has a long treatment ahead. His treatment calls for intensive chemo for 6-8 months, but he is hopeful that he’ll be well enough to re-enroll in school in the fall. Until then, he’ll have some time to work on plans to beat leukemia for good!

If you want to help Hank get after leukemia, you can donate by texting “hankstrong” to 44321.

Ring the Bell Twice

When children get to the end of cancer treatment, ringing the bell to signify its end is perhaps the most joyous celebration of their lives. That wasn’t necessarily the case with 13-year-old Lily Stuckey. For her, ringing the bell after two and a half years of harsh treatment was a mixture of joy and sadness.

At the very end of 2017, Lily had been sick and had some visible knots on her neck. Even stranger, when a rare dusting of snow fell in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, Lily didn’t have the energy to go outside to play.

“I honestly thought she was being lazy,” recalled her mother, Kelli. “It seemed like she was setting me up to try to stay out of school when the snow cleared.”

But a fever took her to the local emergency room where doctors discovered Lily had leukemia. She started chemotherapy right away and was plagued by “rare” side effects.  She lost weight on steroids, suffered with neuropathy in her feet and hands, and spent a month in intensive care because of brain swelling. Fortunately, Lily went into remission very early and stayed there, although the harsh side effects of treatment continued.

While Lily was plodding through treatment, another young lady in the same town was also diagnosed with leukemia. Described as sassy and spunky, Kylie Shiell became a friend almost immediately. Kylie and Lily hit it off so well, in fact, they even plotted to ensure they could get chemo infusions at the same time. As their friendship grew, they became a force to be reckoned with.

“When Lily got admitted, the doctor put on her chart that the girls couldn’t see each other because they both had fevers,” Kylie’s mother, Ashley, said. “When the doctor did rounds, the girls stood on either side of the hallway and cornered him to complain about his attempts to keep them apart.”

Lily and Kylie talked every day about life and their cancer journeys. In fact, they laughed about the hospital’s privacy rules.

“One time, we were in the room together and the doctor didn’t want to talk about me in front of Kylie,” Lily shared. “I told him, ‘You know we tell each other everything, so you might as well say what you’ve got to say.’”

Kylie overcame everything cancer threw at her. But an infection caused bouts of extreme pain and ultimately took her life on November 13, 2019. Lily was devastated and wrote a moving letter that was read at Kylie’s memorial service.

“She was the only one who understood what I was going through,” Lily said. “I miss her every day.”

When Lily celebrated the end of treatment, she rang the bell not only for herself, but also for her friend who she will carry in her heart forever. Of course, Kylie’s family was there to watch and celebrate the milestone with Lily.

“We wouldn’t miss it,” Ashley said. “We’re all family now.”

 

 

Be the Light

Emily Riedinger and Caroline Paris have been best friends since the fifth grade. While they met in school around many other kids, they quickly became inseparable and have been ever since. Somewhere along the line, they saw a video in which a girl talked of how inspired she was after finding ways to give back to her community. Both girls were touched and immediately began forming plans to do charitable work.

At the time, Caroline’s older sister Natalie was finishing up her leukemia treatment. The girls felt a natural draw toward helping children with cancer and, at Natalie’s suggestion, looked into what they could do for CURE.

“We found out we could assemble Boredom Buster Bags that would help kids during long hospital stays,” Emily said. “I mean, I get bored just being at home sometimes. I can’t imagine how bored I would get if I had to be in the hospital for days on end.”

So the two of them engaged their community and put together bags full of games and activities to entertain a child in the hospital for treatment. They got such great joy out of making these bags that they did it again the following year.

“When she was in treatment, Natalie got several of these bags from CURE,” Caroline said. “They really helped her through some long and difficult days.”

Making Boredom Buster Bags has now become a tradition, and the girls have also made snack bags, toiletry bags, and more. The past few years, they got their local Target, Kroger, and CVS involved to make bags and donate supplies. In December, Target on Windward Parkway put together forty bags as an employee project and added these to its donation.

Since they had been inspired by the video they saw in middle school, Emily and Caroline wanted to share the joy of giving back with kids their age. That led them to a new endeavor to raise funds – t-shirts that said, “[be the light.]”

“By buying t-shirts, the kids got something out of it,” Caroline said. “It makes people feel like they’re a part of something big when they see others wearing them around school.”

While they’ve been inseparable for seven years, they’ll soon be going different directions. Caroline plans to study to become a physical therapist at Berry College, and Emily hopes to enroll in University of Georgia’s child psychology program. Unsurprisingly, giving back plays a part in Emily’s future plans.

“I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was young, and there was someone who really impacted me,” Emily said. “I hope that once I have my degree, I can help others like I was helped.”

We truly appreciate these two young ladies’ dedication to making hospital stays a little easier for the children we serve. They are certainly a “light” and good example for all of us.

 

Lendmark Financial Services Climbs On

Take away the stadium stairs, the track, and all the fun of Lendmark Financial Services’ annual Climb to CURE and you might think the event would fold altogether. Yet it did not. Despite the fact that the event looked drastically different this year due to COVID -19, the 2020 climb was the most successful to date. Its overwhelming success is a credit to the company’s leadership, teamwork, passion, and determination to make a difference.

Bobby Aiken and Chip Madren

The Climb to CURE is the brainchild of Bobby Aiken, CEO of Lendmark Financial Services, who watched one of his childhood friends struggle through his son’s cancer treatment. Chip Madren’s fight became an inspiration to Bobby.

“I watched Chip literally fight for his life and win,” he said. “Chip’s fight has made me a better person and has positively impacted many, many lives.”

Being an avid stadium runner, Bobby decided to combine his love of running stadium stairs and his passion for helping children with cancer. He created a company-wide fundraiser – the Climb to CURE. With his own commitment to contributing to better outcomes for children with cancer, Bobby inspired employees, partners, and vendors to join the fight. That was five years ago. Nationwide, Lendmark employees and partners gave and hosted mini-fundraisers. The effort culminated with an in-person stadium climb involving 200-300 people the first four years. Altogether, those efforts raised an amazing $1,843,000.

This year’s COVID-19 requirements of social distancing and limited gatherings forced Lendmark to change the format of the Climb to CURE. Instead of the traditional in-person stadium event, they created a seven-day virtual step competition and fundraising challenge.

“While the local offices missed the fun and spirit of getting together, this year’s format allowed branches from coast-to-coast to fully participate. Being virtual was a different dynamic that spawned a lot of creativity,” said Kelsey Treadwell, Lendmark’s Marketing Manager.

Lendmark has 366 branches across the country, and many of them raised money in traditional ways. But some held unique fundraisers perfectly suited to this unique year. In Princeton, Kentucky, the branch formed a partnership with an Auntie Anne’s truck which donated proceeds of pretzel sales. The Pueblo, Colorado branch organized a motocross race complete with sponsors and merchandise which raised $8,000. Employees in the Clarksburg, West Virginia branch hosted a bingo night. Even though they had to limit attendance to half-capacity, they were able to raise the highest total of any branch at $11,000!

The company also stepped up in a big way by creating an incentive raffle. For every $100 a branch raised, they received a raffle ticket. The winning branch received quite a prize: all employees get to attend the company’s Choice Awards next year in Scottsdale, Arizona. Lendmark’s partners and vendors continued their support of the company’s efforts by giving generously. To culminate the event, Lendmark held a virtual “climb”. Employees laced up their tennis shoes and walked 13,186,408 steps, totaling more than 6,500 miles. Incredibly, the Climb to CURE raised a record-breaking $617,195!

The funds raised by Lendmark support CURE’s Precision Medicine Initiative, which involves precise gene-based treatment. CURE is leading the way in advancing this innovative therapy. Our work would not be possible without Lendmark’s support.

“People want to know where their money is going, which is why we focus on precision medicine,” said Ethan Andelman, Lendmark’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We’ve embraced CURE and their Precision Medicine Initiative in the hopes that it becomes the first line of treatment for kids with cancer.”

In October, CEO Bobby Aiken made a stunning announcement: Lendmark’s goal for the 2021 Climb to CURE is $1 million! With the passion and dedication they’ve shown, Lendmark has proven there is no mountain they won’t climb for kids fighting cancer.

A Rain on Parched Hearts

Anna Hanger was an extraordinary young woman, wise beyond her years and generous beyond words. In June 2003, Anna was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her treatment was long and hard, and she suffered many complications which caused her to be hospitalized for the better part of a year. While she achieved remission in 2004, it was short lived, and her cancer returned just months later. Doctors told her family there was no further treatment for Anna and urged her parents to quickly take a Make-A-Wish trip due to Anna’s poor prognosis and their concern that her quality of life would begin to decline quickly.

Anna and her parents did take a “final” trip. Anna was scheduled to have surgery two days after they returned. Prior to surgery Anna had an MRI. With tears in her eyes, Anna’s doctor shared the incredible results: Anna’s tumor was shrinking. Anna’s tumor continued to shrink over the next year. Although she remained cancer-free for many years, Anna faced several challenges in her young life.

No one would have blamed Anna if she became sad and angry as a result of her limitations and very serious challenges caused by the brain cancer and treatment. But that just wasn’t Anna. From the time she was diagnosed and received an outpouring of love and support, including gifts and cards from family and friends, Anna became very aware of the other children at the hospital who were not getting the same kind of support. It touched Anna deeply and was very hard for her to accept. In spite of the fact that Anna was almost completely deaf, had severe scoliosis from radiation treatments, significant balance issues, loss of feeling on one side of her face, and many other permanent disabilities, she became obsessed with finding a way to help the other children with cancer. The idea of Anna’s Angel Fund was born.

When people asked what they could do for her or what gifts they could bring her, Anna suggested they make a donation to her Angel Fund instead.

The Angel Fund gave Anna a way to help the children who touched her heart and also became something positive for her to focus on while facing her own battles every day. Anna maintained this fund for years, and of course, she insisted that all of her financial aid and gifts be made anonymously. Over the years, Anna raised and gave away more than $600,000 to children and families whose lives had been devastated by pediatric cancer. Anna found joy every day in making her gift of life count for other children. The fund was eventually retired, but Anna never stopped caring about and working to make life better for children with cancer.

“Through the generosity of its supporters, Anna’s Angel Fund will be a much-needed rain on their terribly parched hearts.”

In June 2019, Anna’s cancer returned, and she passed away in August 2020. Her parents, Larry and Lisa, recently faced their first Thanksgiving without their precious daughter. They drew on her grateful spirit and generous heart to get through.

“Throughout Anna’s life, and especially during her battle with cancer, we’ve expressed just how precious it has been to embrace gratitude,” Lisa shared. “Even now as we face the hardest days of our lives and struggle to learn to live without Anna, gratitude and grace sustain us.”

It is in that same spirit that her family has revived Anna’s Angel Fund as a Named Fund of CURE. All funds received will be directed towards CURE’s patient and family support programs.

“Reviving Anna’s Angel Fund is what Anna would want,” Lisa said. “Donations to the fund are directed toward CURE’s patient and family support programs because families fighting cancer are trapped in thoughts of mounting bills, loneliness, and fear of what the future holds. Through the generosity of its supporters, Anna’s Angel Fund will be a much-needed rain on their terribly parched hearts. In that way, our sweet Anna will still be making life better for children with cancer and their families.”

A gift to Anna’s Angel Fund will help to continue her legacy of caring for and helping families of children with cancer.

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