THON funds provide a buoy in rough seas for local family
MiniTHON raises $30,251.27 for kids with pediatric cancer
“My name is Sara and this young lady is our stage-four kidney cancer survivor, Noelle. On March 12, 2013, I took Noelle into the emergency room thinking she had appendicitis or a stomach bug. What we learned was every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Noelle’s mother, Sara Weinhold. “Our daughter, our baby, our princess was diagnosed with this evil monster, cancer. She went through chemotherapy from March through September. Her last dose of chemo was Sept. 4 and she was diagnosed cancer free on Sept. 25, 2013.
“The Four Diamonds Fund means the world to all of us families,” Weinhold continued. “They not only provide incredible social workers, doctors, nurses, research, but all of the money raised from THON and mini-THON went to build that beautiful 80 million dollar children’s hospital. One of the first nights we were there our angel, Margaret, came in &tstr; she’s a Four Diamonds social worker &tstr; she had me fill out three forms and that was it. They took care of everything else. The chemotherapies, the scans, everything is thousands of dollars and we knew they provide financial assistance for families, but they also cover every medical bill that insurance does not. With your help our daughter kicked stage -four kidney cancer’s butt.”
With Weinhold’s final, triumphant proclamation, a thunderous roar of applause erupted from the attendees of Warwick High School’s Mini-THON, a benefit event for the Four Diamonds Fund. If anyone deserved a round of applause, it was Noelle and her mother, Sara.
Noelle was only four years old when she was diagnosed with stage-four kidney cancer, a type of cancer also known as a Wilms’ tumor. Initially, Noelle had to undergo eight radiation treatments in as many days before moving on to chemotherapy. After returning home from their first hospital visit, Noelle and her family found that the heating oil recently delivered to them leaked from the oil tank and into their well, causing a major health and safety problem. The family had to evacuate from their home and leave all of their belongings behind due to contamination by the oil fumes. They had to live in a room at a local Holiday Inn during a large part of Noelle’s treatment. After Noelle was diagnosed cancer free and the family moved into a new home, Sara had her third child. Four days later, at the age of 28, she had a heart attack. Through all of that, Noelle and the Weinhold’s kept fighting on.
“Noelle is amazingly strong,” Sara said. “First, eight straight days of radiation treatments over her chest and abdomen. Then right into chemo. She does CAT scans all by herself ever since the second time she’s had it done. She’s an amazing child. Through all of this, she has never lost the sparkle in her eyes. She has never lost her smile.”
According to Sara, Noelle got a lot of strength knowing she had the love and support of her family and friends.
“We were surrounded by 100 percent love and support,” said Sara. “It was like an entire community rallied around us. People sent crafting supplies, coloring books, cards &tstr; that helped her, knowing she had that support. We are truly blessed by the amount of people who love and support us. It is incredible.”
The solidarity of the Weinhold family also helped Noelle.
“She was pretty upset about losing her hair,” Sara said, “but what little girl wouldn’t be? So, we all shaved our heads too.”
When asked where she draws her own inner strength from, Sara responded, “I draw my strength from my children. They make me stronger. Noelle helped me get through all of this. I know she won’t let me fall, and she knows I won’t let her fall. When it came to recovering from my heart attack, I knew that if Noelle could make it through everything she went through with smile intact, then I had to as well.”
The support of the Four Diamonds Fund also proved invaluable, especially while Noelle was in the hospital.
“The Four Diamonds Fund is just amazing,” Sara said. “They gave us vouchers for gas so we didn’t have to worry about travel expenses. They gave us vouchers for the hospital cafeteria so we didn’t have to worry about food. Anything our insurance wouldn’t cover, they would pay for. We had an issue with insurance &tstr; our insurance should have covered something, but it didn’t &tstr; and all I had to do was call our Four Diamonds social worker and she took care of it. Simply amazing.”
A combination of family, friends, and help from the Four Diamonds Fund made Noelle’s story one of happiness and triumph. With further help and support for Four Diamonds and their THON and Mini-THON events, hopefully more children diagnosed with pediatric cancer will have the same success story.
This year, Warwick High School’s goal was to raise $15,000 for the Four Diamonds Fund. Total funds raised were $30,251.27.
Merriell Moyer is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.