WAXAHACHIE (CBSDFW.COM) – Funding the fight to find a cure, a North Texas teen takes on childhood cancer – one cookie at a time.
“Forty-six kids are diagnosed with childhood cancer in just one day,” said Anna Day, a 15-year-old freshman at Red Oak High. “It’s a very big problem.”
Anna rattles off childhood cancer stats like a PR pro. And yet this battle is personal. Her baby sister, Isabella, was diagnosed at just nine months old.
“We later found out that it was a stage 4 neuroblastoma,” said Anna, while adding that “only four percent of all national funding goes to childhood cancer research.”
So two years ago, Anna decided to hold a bake sale to help raise money to fund research into a cure.
“I raised a little over $2,000,” said Anna. “Last year my goal was go double that. But, I quadrupled that and raised $8,000. This year, my goal is $10,000.”
As one of their many helpers guards the as-yet-uncounted cash, Anna may be close. They had so many customers after setting up at the Waxahachie Chick-Fil-A that they sold out of the treats early.
“We wouldn’t have been able to reach the past two goals without the people that wanted to help. This wouldn’t be possible without them,” said Anna.
Relatives and friends donated baked goods for Anna and crew to sell. All this while Isabella and her twin, Jaclyn, hurry around adding the cuteness factor to the effort.
Isabella is now six and the family remains hopeful that help will come in time. And while childhood cancer is not a typical teenage concern, that’s okay. Her parents said Anna is no typical teen.
“She thinks outside of the drama,” said her mother Leslie Day, “and we’ve all had a change in perspective. She told me once, ‘it’s like, I have new eyes, Mom, I’m seeing things with new eyes’ and that’s exactly how it is for all of us.”
So whether it’s helping with the bake sales, a little extra attention for Jaclyn or the constant prayers, the Days said the love and support from their community, friends and church family at Eastridge Baptist in Red Oak have made all the difference in the world.
“They will never know the impact that that has on our lives and we know on the lives of other people facing cancer,” said Anna’s father, Tim Day. “It just helps us know that we are not alone in this journey, and that helps us keep going day by day.”
And although all the sweets have been sold, Anna, a relentless fundraiser, still wants to add more. She’s hoping a local business will match her bake sale proceeds to have an even greater impact.
And then the family said there’s the gift that anyone can give that doesn’t cost a dime – prayer.
“When people say `what can we do?’, that’s what we want,” said Leslie. “The prayers are tangible to us. We can feel them. There are days we can’t pray. It’s too much and we have people standing in that gap for us. It is everything to us to have people praying for us.”
And finally, from the wiser-than-her-years teen who is determined to do her part: “Thank you. A lot” to all who have helped.