After her own cancer battle, girl hosts fundraiser for sick friend
Meredith MacLeod, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, August 28, 2016 10:15AM EDT
A young girl and her family know from first-hand experience what Katie Star Herron and her parents are going through as the Cambridge, Ont. youngster wages a fierce battle with leukemia.
So Kylie Hass, 6, who has overcome leukemia herself, decided she would hold a lemonade-stand fundraiser to raise money for the costly treatments Katie is undergoing in the United States.
“I wanted to have a lemonade stand to help Katie so she could feel better ,” Kylie told CTV News Kitchener, while taking a break from serving lemonade and cookies on a hot Saturday at a Cambridge park.
The two girls and their parents met while both youngsters were undergoing treatment at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton. Both families are from Cambridge, about an hour’s drive west of Toronto, and they forged an instant kinship.
“It really can be an isolating feeling sometimes, being in the hospital while your children are sick,” said Kylie’s mother Brooke Hass. “You really bond and make those connections with other parents.”
Kylie was diagnosed in 2012, endured two surgeries and finished chemotherapy in 2014. She’s now in remission.
“She’s very healthy. We’re very lucky and very thankful.”
Katie hasn’t been nearly as lucky.
The youngster finished chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia in September 2012. But the cancer returned one year later and Katie started treatment again. She underwent a stem cell transplant in March 2014 to boost to her body to fight the disease.
Thirteen months after that procedure, Katie’s parents received the devastating news that her cancer had returned.
The family moved to Philadelphia so Katie could be given an experimental therapy because she’s among a small percentage of children who don’t respond to traditional treatment. Last month, doctors said her cancer was back for a fourth time.
That’s when Kylie decided to help out her friend.
“We’re so proud of her,” said dad Chris Hass. “She’s just so excited to help out. You know, she’s been through this before. She’s been through some very similar treatments and we’re just willing to help out any way we can.”
Residents came to a downtown Cambridge park to sip lemonade and contribute donations. A money box quickly filled with $20 bills on the way to an eventual total of $1,500. Supporters raved about the lemonade and were touched by the young girl’s generosity.
“For her parents to encourage that feeling in someone so young is absolutely fabulous,” said Judy Hollman.
Kylie and her parents said they were so grateful to the community for the help.
“To just even pay for the treatment that (Katie) requires is thousands and thousands and thousands,” said Brooke. “So to help donate and support in any way possible will surely alleviate some of the stress of the family.”
-With a report from CTV News Kitchener