Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 --- 4:30 a.m.
Right now, at American Family Children's hospital, around 250 children are being treated for some form of cancer.
In today's family first, we have a story of hope involving a little boy who beat his cancer and the organization that helped his family through it.
"You're in shock when you find out that your child has cancer. It takes a few days, a few weeks even for it to soak in. We were surrounded by all kinds of people in the community our family our friends, capital candlelighters being one of those organizations. They were there from the very beginning."
Elizabeth Lepine's 5-year-old son Hudson has spent most of his young life beating cancer.
He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblasic leukemia at 22 months old.
" Our house looked like a pharmacy for a long time. We literally had a sheet we had to check off every day. "
When we met him, he showed off these beads, gifts from the group "capital candle-lighters."
Each bead stands for something Hudson "beat," from chemo to an overnight stay at the hospital, chronically 3 and a half years of treatment.
" There was weeks on end where all we would do is get up is I would bring him food up to our bed and we would just watch TV, read, color, play games. "
Early on, they celebrated days Hudson could simply get up and play... and they held their breath through the countless trips back to American Family Children's Hospital.
"So they can't go to the grocery store, can't go to Wal-Mart, can't play with friends, can't have friends over to play, they have to really stay isolated away from other children and then the problem with that is when they get sick, that's when they're put into the hospital."
But these days, Hudson is headed to school - attending kindergarten half days, socializing and playing just like the others.
Now, Elizabeth hopes to help other families who are just headed down the same road.
"The financial burden that cancer can bring to a family is just horrible. Many times one of the parents has to stop working completely so that they can run their child back and forth from the hospital...or stay in the hospital with their child."
And that's where capital candlelighters comes in again.
Not only do they work to cheer up families during treatment, they provide crucial emergency financial help to parents.
Money for rent, gas, groceries, you name it.
The volunteer parents like Elizabeth also raise funds so they can get together every month for support.
" It does feel good to be there and give a little bit of hope to a newly diagnosed family. B/c Hudson is... he's a miracle! He's a success story. "
This year's holiday party is coming up soon and Capital Candle lighters is hoping to raise more funds to make it happen.
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