This is a final installment of a monthlong series.
Residents have been flocking to local businesses to show their support for National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
A monthlong fundraiser, 30 Days for a Cure, spotlights a local business each day that has agreed to help Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for pediatric cancer research. In the first two weeks of the month, $7,171.93 has been raised. Funds are still being tallied for the final weeks of the month.
The fundraiser and efforts to bring awareness for pediatric cancer to the community have been the work of Dana Boutwell, the reigning Mrs. S.C. Strawberry Festival Queen. She decided on pediatric cancer as her platform after watching her friend Melanie Kauffman’s son, Daniel, battle leukemia.
Daniel was 2 years old when he was diagnosed. He has undergone chemotherapy for three years. Treatment will be complete in five months.
“We are on the countdown,” said Melanie Kauffman, a Fort Mill resident. “We see him feeling badly and that’s just not how any 5-year-old should feel, and we think we have to put him through this so many more times. But it’s scary to think about ending the treatment, too.”
After treatment ends, Daniel’s prognosis is good, Kauffman said. But Boutwell’s fundraising is important for kids like Daniel and for the children whose prognosis might not be as bright, Kauffman added.
“When you see the prognosis for childhood cancer overall, it’s 80 percent and that sounds pretty good, but on the flip-side that is two out of ten kids that don’t make it, and that’s a high number. We need to make sure no family has to face that. No family needs to hear that there is nothing more you can do,” Kauffman said.
In addition to 30 Days for the Cure, bake sales have been ongoing throughout the month in several locations, including the concessions stand at Runde Field in Tega Cay, stocked with treats by volunteer bakers from around the community.
Donations have come in from children selling yellow ribbons to neighbors, and Boutwell also accepted a special donation last week from an 8-year-old girl, Lucy Holben, who heard about the fundraiser and asked for donations for her birthday party in lieu of gifts. Holben raised $250.
The support of the community means a lot to Kauffman, who has helped work cookie booths and visited many of the “Good Cookies of the Day” and talked with community members supporting the cause.
“It’s been very exciting seeing the money raising and the support the community has offered. It has been overwhelming,” Kauffman said. “People are so nice and generous. It’s nice to know something positive is coming from everything our family is going through.”