Local moms hope to increase funding for pediatric cancer research

Source: KWTX / Madison Adams

Cancer is a word no one likes to hear especially when it involves the life of a child. More than 10,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year and many of them utilize hospitals and clinics in Central Texas, which offer life-saving treatments.

Amy Gilstrap’s son, Blain Lenoir, was diagnosed with leukemia on November 14, 2015. Blain had played in a baseball game the day before where his mom noticed a lump on his neck which was diagnosed as Lymphoma.

Blain is 13 years-old.

“43 children are diagnosed every day and 43 sets of parents are given that devastating news every day,” Gilstrap said.

“People ask me, do you feel like you’ve been punched or kicked in the teeth and I’m like no, I feel like someone just told me my baby has cancer and there is nothing I can do about it.”

She is not alone.

Tiffany Covert’s daughter, McKenzie, is battling a form of cancer as well.

“September 24th, 2015 I was a mom,” Covert said.

“September 25th, 2015 I was a cancer mom.”

McKenzie has undergone a year of treatments so far, and still faces two more years of doctor visits, chemo treatments, transfusions and other procedures.

McKenzie is just four years-old.

“There are so many kids out there with cancer and so many different kinds of childhood cancer and it just gets four percent of funding,” Covert said.

“There needs to be more awareness and more funding so we can find those cures.”

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation has found only four percent of U.S. federal funding is solely dedicated to childhood cancer research. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation mission involves, “funding research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives.”

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