Mom of 2 year-old leukemia patient starts toy drive to spread holiday cheer among childhood cancer patients this holiday season
PARK RIDGE, Ill. (November 15, 2019) - Several local families are joining forces to help spread holiday cheer to childhood cancer warriors at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital this holiday season.
Nicole Voelz's son, Lukas, was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in March 2019. Immediately following his diagnosis, Lukas began treatment. Over the past few months, he has undergone several surgeries, including a procedure to place a port in his chest which will be used to provide chemotherapy treatments over the next 3.5 years.
Little Lukas is bravely fighting his illness, but his precious childhood days are often filled with hospital and doctor visits. It breaks his mother's heart that he and so many other childhood cancer patients have been stripped of a "normal" childhood because of this horrible disease. That is why Nicole has been on a mission to spread cheer among Lukas's fellow patients at Lutheran General Hospital, and other childhood cancer patients throughout the country.
In addition to starting a blog and Facebook community where mothers like her can share stories and lean on each other for support, Nicole has founded the first annual Advocate Children's Hospital Pediatric Cancer Holiday Toy Drive to spread cheer among patients at Advocate Lutheran General. She has enlisted the help of two other local cancer-mothers, Dawn Dolcimascolo and Joanna Schroeder, to make the holiday season a little brighter for these brave fighters. Dawn is the mother of 3-year-old Samuel, and Joanna is the mother of 5-year-old Dylan, who are both battling leukemia.
The group is asking people to donate new, unopened toys or gift cards via an Amazon registry or a GoFundMe gift card fund. The gift card fund will go towards the purchase of gift cards to local stores and restaurants for the older kids and teen oncology patients, who are often forgotten during these toy drives.
"Our little cancer warriors are small, but they are mighty, and they know firsthand what a difference a new toy or a special present can do for their spirits! As parents, we want to give that same feeling to other kids that are fighting the same battles our babies are," Nicole Voelz said. "We invite all individuals, sports teams, clubs, scout troops, workplaces and other groups to joins us in our mission of making a child smile this holiday season!"
To donate a toy, please visit the Amazon registry, and please visit the group's GoFundMe page to donate to the gift card fund.
For more information, please visit the Toy Drive's official Facebook page or www.journeyofaleukemiawarrior.com.