LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE)- It's the leading cause of death of children by disease. forty six times a day... A parent somewhere hears the words ,"your child has cancer." sadly, seven of those forty six children won't win the battle. That's why one group of mothers is fighting for more funding and research to help save lives.
"46 mommas" from across the country will shave their heads in Washington, D.C. to raise awareness and a million dollars for research to save the youngest among us from childhood cancer. One of those mommas is from Kentuckiana and although she has lost so much, she just keeps giving. After our story aired last week, a few of our viewers decided to give too.
The giving began once again with Cheryl Alonso pulling a wagon filled to the brim with toys. Her husband Vincent Alonso followed with huge boxes. They entered Kosair Children's Hospital to begin what they were calling "Christmas in July". Childlife Specialist Verlinda Thompson told us just why the toys were so important to the hospital and the children.
"It's the most important thing we have for children", explained Thompson. She believes it's not the medicine, the machines or the doctors in their white coats that often times really makes the difference for a child at Kosair.
Alonso announces to the staff, "This is Christmas in July for the oncology ward here at Kosair. Just to bring them a little smile."
Today's delivery of toys is a little dose of medicine for a mom and dad with a broken heart after losing their six year old son Isaiah to cancer in September. Cheryl and Vincent Alonso lost their son Isaiah to cancer on September 10, 2010.
She quietly proclaims, "This is important to us to honor our son Isaiah's memory. We have over 60 packages...wrapped bundles."
Each little gift is wrapped in a bright ribbon by a momma who made sure not to leave one thing or one person out. There were toys for boys, girls, teens, tots
Alonso also makes sure to explain, "When they have a very difficult procedure there is a treasure box. They can dig in to get a little treat after. So we have toys for that as well."
Thompson believes the toys are as important to the kids as a scalpel is to a surgeon. She compares a child's playtime to what we do for our livelihoods. "This is their job....play and if we don't have the materials they need for their job they can't do it," she says with great purpose.
Alonso explains why now in the middle of the summer. "Christmas time they get a lot of stuff but summer months not so much," she says softly.
There is another special delivery today the Alonsos did not know about. Glenn and Lynn Thienel had been watching WAVE 3 last week when we aired the first story about the loss of the Alonsos son Isaiah and Cheryl's mission to make a difference. Without hesitation, the Thienels went into action and e-mailed our newsroom.
"You touched my heart for what you're willing to do. You lost a child but still you are going to go there and help other kids and that brings a tear to me. I e-mailed Dawne and I said, I'm going to pay the plane ticket," Glenn said with a quiver in his voice. Although the two had never met, you would never know it by the way they embraced.
We were also able to send Vincent Alonso because of an anonymous donation from a woman who could not bear to think of Cheryl Alonso fighting that battle alone in Washington, D.C. As she raises money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation.
There is good news in this world. With part of the financial burden lifted Cheryl Alonso can now focus on her fight against childhood cancer. The Isaiah Alonso foundation will continue to give and help others in honor of a little boy who dreamed and dressed as a super hero.
Thompson knows with all that is being done is his memory, Isaiah is certainly a super hero to every child that will receive a special treat while in the oncology ward today. "As much as he wanted to be one. He is one now to every child that receives these. He is a super hero," Thompson told his mom and dad.