SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – It was a ‘Christmas Spectacular’ for families who share a common journey with cancer. The event in Spartanburg was hosted by the Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas so children battling cancer could enjoy a night with their siblings and parents.
“Have some fun and don’t worry about the past,” said Brian Weathers.
He and wife Cindy attended with their children Matthew, 9, Grace, 5, and Ella, 4. Ella was diagnosed with Leukemia at 18 months.
“She also had to have chemo injected into her spine,” said Cindy Weathers. “Heartbreaking. It was definitely heartbreaking.”
It’s a familiar feeling for all the other families attending the event at the Spartanburg Marriott.
The Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas wanted to put their worries on hold.
“I love these kids – they are all role models,” said Executive Director Laura Allen. “Love to see the joy and the smiles on their faces because sometimes when I see them in the hospitals, I don’t see that joy.”
The organization – formerly known as The Children’s Security Blanket – hosted the Christmas Spectacular for about 500 children battling cancer or in remission, their siblings and parents.
“For our children, we want them to have a little bit of reprieve from their daily battle driving to and from the hospital, getting chemo treatment,” said Allen.
There were arts and crafts, face painting, family portraits, carriage rides, and a visit with the jolly elf himself.
Each child also got gift cards for themselves their siblings and for their parents. Allen says an anonymous donor made the Christmas party happen last year and this year.
“The financial burden on a family with cancer is tremendous,” said Allen. “Our children who are battling cancer who are in active treatment are all receiving up to a thousand dollars of their December bills paid.”
Families are getting long term support like a Christmas that’s a little merrier.
“Once treatment stops, it’s not over. It’s really not. You are in a better place but you’re always worried about relapse,” said Cindy Weathers. “It’s going to be part of her life forever, part of our lives forever.”
The Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas serves about 200 families in South Carolina and North Carolina after starting out in Spartanburg County.
“We recently changed the name of our organization to express clearly our service to the entire Carolinas, where over 600 new pediatric cancer diagnoses are made each year,” said Allen. “Our mission remains the same – getting all children to lifesaving cancer treatment regardless of family circumstances. Our new name more accurately explains whom we serve, why and where. We truly partner with cancer treatment professionals and the families through every step of the difficult childhood cancer journey.”
If you’re interested in making a donation, click here to visit their website or call 864-582-0673.