The feel of the crisp fall air, school starting, buses moving, football games beginning….September has arrived.
All these are moments in life that are taken away from children who have fought the good fight and lost their battle to childhood cancer.
Dominic Beltran was one of those kids. Dominic battled neuroblastoma after being diagnosed at the age of 17 months, until he lost his fight at the age of six. Knowing Dominic, he was a child who wore a constant smile on his face while zipping around on a big wheel or playing outside with the other neighborhood kids. Much of the time you would never guess that he had cancer, while other times his presence would be missing as he was undergoing treatment that ravaged his little body.
Not only was it a struggle for Dominic but his parents endured the pain of watching their first born son go through things that babies, toddlers and kids should NOT have to experience. No matter what – they were there for their son and the other two boys born into their family during Dominic’s short life.
Sacrifices were made because that is what you do when you have a child with cancer, BUT they also celebrated birthdays BIG time with joy, enjoyed incredible trips and made many memories that will last a lifetime.
The pain and the hurt still remain as life without Dominic continues but his memory is very much alive!
Through the Strong for Dom Foundation, his memory lives on. Dominic’s parents are not going to stop until their mission of “Spread Awareness. Fund a Cure. DOMINATE CANCER” is complete.
And this is why we are banding together to remember those children who lost their lives to childhood cancer, honor the children who are in the fight against a harsh, cruel disease and work together to help find a cure for childhood cancer – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!
Photo from Strong for Dom Foundation
Several different organizations exist around the Fredericksburg, Spotsy and Stafford areas that working to fight and help families who have children with childhood cancer.
Take a moment to read about each of them and GET INVOLVED.
Then make a Gold Ribbon and wear it with pride each day this September knowing that you are supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness Month!
Photo from The Odyssey Online
Photo from Fairy Godmother Project
Part One of their Mission –
“ease the burden of those faced with pediatric cancer even if only for an hour. Presently, we are making meals, providing professional house cleaning, hair cuts, and lawn care plus providing gas cards for local families whose children have pediatric cancer. We implemented a Financial relief fund in 2014 and were able to pay nearly $10,000 in bills for our families”
Part Two of their Mission –
“The second part of our mission is to provide families with photo sessions donated by professional photographers. Talking with many of these cancer families, we realized what an amazing gift could be given in photography. This is where co-founder, Stephanie Johnson stepped in. She is the one giving the gift of photography or finding other photographers to give this gift. Their job is to capture the families’ moments, connections and their love for each other despite the stress and worry of dealing with pediatric cancer.”
“In 2015, we developed a program to support families facing end of life. This program provides much needed emotional, volunteer and financial support to families when their child dies. Through this program, we have been able to pay for 3 funerals/celebrations of life, contribute to a headstone and assist in the planning of services for the families. Additionally, we are building community between these families that helps with their grief.”
Photo from Strong for Dom Foundation
“Strong For Dom Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization that exists to spread awareness and raise funds for childhood cancer research. This organization was created in memory of Dominic Beltran, a courageous boy who braved childhood cancer.
Every child should be able to live a full life cancer-free. Strong For Dom Foundation believes funding research to develop less toxic therapies will benefit children with cancer. Through community involvement projects and fundraisers we are able to bring awareness to childhood cancer with hopes of a cure. We want to improve the lives of children with cancer in ways medicine alone cannot. Through our Super Fun Day program, we provide treasured family time to children with cancer in the Fredericksburg region.”
Photo from Owen Lea Foundation
“The Owen Lea Foundation exists to provide support to families Living with Neuroblastoma. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in Virginia by the parents, friends and family of Owen Scott Lea. With Owen’s guidance from Heaven above, we continuously reach out to any and all families who have a child living with Neuroblastoma”
The Oughton Family lived the challenges that a family faces when a child is diagnosed with cancer. They also experienced the death of a child and the impact that such an event can have on all of the members of a family. With this knowledge, the Oughton Family and the Board of Directors were armed with the information needed to develop infrastructure required to support families fighting pediatric cancer, or recovering from the death of a child.
The Grace Oughton Cancer Foundation’s current and developing programs address clinical, psycho-social, financial, educational, wellness and logistical needs of these families living in Fredericksburg and the surrounding counties. The foundation is also pursuing legislation that will further ease the burden on families travelling for care. All programs offered by the Grace Oughton Cancer Foundation are offered at no charge to our clients, so we rely greatly on donations and grants.
The Grace Oughton Cancer Foundation is managed by an Executive Director and four members of the board, all with diverse educational backgrounds providing the breadth of experience necessary to develop and manage programs that will dramatically affect the lives of our clients.
The GOCF is a registered non-stock corporation with the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are tax exempt and a registered charitable 501(c)3 organization with the IRS.”
Photo from Slyestrong #6 Foundation
“The SlyeStrong#6 Foundation is a project of United Charitable, a registered 501(c)(3). The SlyeStrong#6 Foundation has been established in loving memory of Andrew “AJ” Slye, who is a testimony to us all regarding how to endure and enlighten in the face of hardship. Throughout AJ’s battle, his family, friends, and the community became a constant source of support and strength to AJ and the entire Slye family. Through the work of our foundation, we give back to the community and continue to support those who are currently enduring hardship.
Mission: To serve as a catalyst to find a cure for cancer, to give back to the communities who came together wholeheartedly in spirit, love, and hope to strengthen the fight for life, and to be a platform for all who have lost loved ones.
The SLYESTRONG#6 Foundation has identified a set of organizational goals that are expected to evolve as the foundation moves forward.
• Provide academic scholarships to graduating seniors in each of the five Stafford County Public Schools and a 6th scholarship to a 5A North Region senior football player.
• Promote awareness of cancer and opportunities to help.
• Raise money to support medical research in the fight to cure cancer.
• Meet immediate community needs to alleviate hardship and promote a positive outlook.
• Provide comfort to those living with cancer – the individuals and their families.
• Establish and maintain relationships with all supporters.”
Photo from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia