Before Eileen’s great niece, Sophie, was diagnosed with cancer, Eileen didn’t know very much about children’s cancer. After she found out that Sophie had neuroblastoma, she started doing research about children’s cancer and learned that only two drugs have been approved specifically for children’s cancer in the last 20 years. Eileen wanted to do something to help advance treatments, so she started a team called Sophie’s Squad at the Kansas City, Indianapolis, and St. Louis CureSearch Walks. For Eileen, spreading awareness is her way of helping Sophie during treatment.
By participating in the Walks, Eileen learned that people all around her have been affected by children’s cancer, and that she is part of a community of people who will do anything to fund research and raise awareness. Eileen has gone to extremes in her quest to make people listen to the importance of increased funding, such as shaving her head in a show of solidarity to Sophie and the 36 children who are diagnosed with cancer every day. She and her family also designed temporary tattoos in the shape of a gold ribbon for her to wear on her head. Now when people ask her what her tattoo means, she tells them about her great niece Sophie who is beating cancer.
“I am doing this because of Sophie. I can’t do anything to change Sophie’s treatment protocol, but I can do something for all the other children who are going to be diagnosed in the future,” says Eileen. “I know I can only do so much, but I know that I can do this.”
All of her hard work came together on October 26 at the Indianapolis CureSearch Walk. The Indianapolis CureSearch Walk raised more than $13,000 to help fund children’s cancer research. Eileen already has ideas for more ways to raise funds and spread awareness next year, because she wants every child diagnosed with cancer to know that they have a community of supporters behind them.
To learn more about the CureSearch Walk and find out how you can get involved, visit www.CureSearchWalk.org.