No parent expects to hear the words “Your child has cancer,” but it was the reality my family had to face not once, but twice. Our daughter, Jamiya, was diagnosed in 2008 at 3-years-old with a brain tumor. I remember her teacher telling me that Jamiya was having trouble moving her left arm. That’s when I also noticed the left side of her face had started drooping.
We took her to the hospital and, after a CT scan, were told she had a brain tumor. It was there we were told there was not much they could do to help her. I felt numb, angry, and sad. It was during this time that we were introduced to the Jay’s HOPE Foundation. They helped us with bills, bought groceries, supplied us with gas and meal cards and most of all, offered great emotional support. Jamiya gained her heavenly wings eight months later.
Nearly a year later, our other daughter, Carleesia, was diagnosed with
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She was 10-years-old. This was really hard for us, considering we had just buried a child with cancer. Jesus carried me, because I had no strength to carry myself. Carleesia went through four months of chemotherapy and a lot of emotional issues. She was only ten and still grieving her little sister and began to ask: Would she die too? Those were some tough tough times. I am happy and thankful to say Carleesia has been cancer free for more than 10-years now. Today, Carleesia is doing great and is studying to be a nurse.
Jay’s HOPE was there for our family during our darkest hour. It’s why we decided to join hands with them in creating a named fund called Carlee & Miya’s Wings of Hope. Donations to Wings of HOPE will provide direct support to childhood cancer families in the form of travel assistance, financial support, as well as scholarships to help with post secondary education. Watching your child fight for their life, is one of the hardest things a parent has to go through. Families have to concentrate on getting their child through doctor visits, comforting them during treatment, plus supporting other siblings all while managing their household and their jobs. They should not have the burden of worrying about if they will lose their home or car or if they can afford gas to get to their appointments.
That’s our goal: to love, support, and lighten the load for families with children fighting cancer.
Carla and Jemal Stephens