At the age of two, Casey Ladd was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a rare cancer that begins in the bone marrow. The now five-year-old — who finished her treatment in early June — says she plans to become a zookeeper at the Jacksonville Zoo.
With Casey’s family celebrating her health as a “normal kid,” her diagnosis and treatment have changed their world forever. Her father, Mike, says that what came out of nowhere brought life to a halt for him, his wife and three other children. The family was immediately introduced to the Children’s Cancer Fund and Careathon and remains eternally grateful to everyone who has helped.
“We didn’t come here alone,” he said. “This was blood, sweat and tears from everyone – including organizations like Careathon.”
Careathon, now in its seventh year, will host a 13-hour live broadcast at Nemours Children’s Health on August 20. A team of Cox Media guests is standing by to accept donations. The money will go to the Child Cancer Fund for Child Life Specialist in Nemours.
The Children’s Cancer Fund is a charity that helps families of pediatric cancer patients. More than 300 families annually benefit from services that include financial aid, gift cards and tutoring.
Casey’s family contacted Life Specialists at the Child Cancer Fund and received a guide who helped the family navigate the quagmire of the language of cancer. Ladd said the guide — his clever book — was key to understanding the medical and technical terms.
“The guide also helped us understand what these warriors are going through,” he said. “And what they’re doing to fight through this.”
Lucky to have a supportive financial structure, the National Guard admitted to meeting many families who did not. Ladd recognized the impact of Careathon’s donations to people in need of financial assistance.
“The money stays local,” he said. “That’s the part that’s great. The money does not go to a foundation where a large percentage of the top is taken. This money works locally. And that spares the family structure.”
Ladd described Casey’s health as great. He encouraged everyone to donate to Careathon. Donations are held locally and impact “people you see every day.”
“Our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, it is our community,” he concluded. “And it makes a difference.”
Donations can be made in several ways, including a one-time or monthly donation at childcancerfund.org. There will also be a Carethon auction sponsored by Paul Davis Restoration. The auction link is Careathon21.givesmart.com. Everyone is invited to browse and bid.
Also on Friday, August 20, volunteers will be standing by to take donations by phone (855) 636-6877 from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Texts are also accepted at PARTNER to 707070.
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