Raising money for childhood cancer research is not unusual. Parents and businesses do it frequently.
But in addition to the $20,000 raised for research, one Indiana mother has a unique medium for sharing the story of her late 6-year-old son’s stage IV astrocytoma, a form of cancer targeting the brain.
Tracey Blackmore of Carmel, Indiana created bags with information and statistics about her son Brooks’ diagnosis, copies of his artwork, the link to his St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraising page and Hot Wheels cars, according to ABCNews.
“Brooks has always loved Hot Wheels,” Blackmore said to ABCNews. “Whenever he was home and sick he would always ask to go out and get a Hot Wheel. This kid would remember every Hot Wheel he had, where he got it, where he got it from. We probably went out four to five times a week when he was undergoing treatment.”
Astrocytoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed pediatric brain tumors, accounting for 20 percent of childhood cancers, studies find. It isn’t unusual to occur within the first ten years of life, with peak diagnoses around ages 5 to 9. The tumors are operable in some cases, but even with chemotherapy and radiation, prognosis is often poor for many.
Brooks’ 7th birthday would have been on Dec. 20. The upcoming date motivated his mother to distribute her bags throughout town in her son’s remembrance. She placed them in some of Brooks’ favorite places such as Target, Panera Bread, his preschool and a Chick-fil-A play area, ABCNews continues.
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Blackmore said she even sent Hot Wheels toys to other states so other family members can continue the trend in her son’s memory.
Parents should not have to bury their children, but tragically, some do. Though Brooks’ life ended prematurely due to a terminal illness, his memory lives on — not only in Carmel, Indiana, but in other towns across the country. Hopefully, the bags scattered throughout town will encourage donations to pediatric cancer research so that other children have a better chance to beat cancer and continue to be a blessing to their families and communities.