PARKERSBURG - A local woman took it upon herself to help raise money for children battling cancer across the country on Saturday.
Mari Furby, of Parkersburg, first learned about the nonprofit Battle for a Cure Foundation (also known as Battle4aCure and B4AC), after learning about a 5-year-old boy named Brayden O'Neal fighting cancer in Texas.
"Someone sent me a link to his Facebook page and I just got sucked into his story," Furby said. "When Brayden died on June 18, I decided I wanted to do something in his memory."
Photo by Jolene Craig
Alesha Bradshaw, 10, of Parkersburg, donates a dollar to the Battle for a Cure Foundation during a local benefit in the City Park Pavilion on Saturday.
The organization is a recognized nonprofit that accepts donations of new toys and gifts as well as money to help children fighting cancer, according to the foundation's website at www.battle4acure.org. The donations go to fill Hope Boxes, which are baskets filled with toys and games the foundation sends to children sick with cancer and their siblings.
"Our mission at Battle4aCure is to enrich the lives of children with cancer," according to the foundation's website. "We are dedicated to encouraging citizens to raise awareness and money for childhood cancer until a cure is found."
While also providing the toys and baskets for the children, the organization also raises funds for scientific research and clinical trials to discover new treatments and potential cures for childhood cancers.
"We want to give back hope to the children and families affected by childhood cancer," the website states.
Furby became involved with the organization as she followed O'Neal's story on Facebook.
"Brayden's story just touched my heart and before I got involved in his story I didn't realize the impact cancer has on children and how many are affected and die each day," Furby said.
According to the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov), cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children in the United States older than 1 year of age. Each day in the nation 36 children younger than 19-years-old are diagnosed with some form of the disease and seven children die daily of the disease. Cancer kills more children than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, AIDS, asthma and juvenile diabetes combined.
"Since I have learned all of these things about childhood cancers, I have been humbled by what these children and their families go through every day," Furby said. "Their stories have brought me a new perspective on life and I now better appreciate my family and what I have."
Whatever was left from Saturday's door prizes, silent auction and other fundraisers will be sent to the foundation in Round Rock, Texas.
"I refuse to let anything go to waste," Furby said. "I want to help the kids in any way I can and only wish I could do more."