Non-profit giving cancer survivors a second chance

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Along with pink ribbons, we are also acknowledging golden ones!

A Brownwood mother has created an organization for childhood cancer survivors. She said she was inspired to giveback to her community after someone left a gift basket at her doorstep during one of her daughter’s toughest fights with her disease.

Now, she is now paying it forward.

The organization is called Hope From the Heart and it helps surviving high school seniors with college expenses.

From the outside looking in, you see three different mothers, along with their daughters.

“Our children are golden,” Mrs. Richardson said. 

From the inside looking out., you find that each of these young girls are all cancer survivors. Like, Brownwood High School freshman, Carlee Richardson. 

“I had inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor in my neck and it was there since I was a baby, but they found it when I was six because my lymph nodes inflated,” Carlee Richardson said. “The tumor went from the base of my skull, all the way to the tip of my spine.” 

Some began their fight at three, like Brownwood High School senior, Macy Smith.

“It originated in my kidney and it tested positive for three different types of cancers and it was stage four, but they were never able to determine exactly what kind it was,” Smith said.

Others at twelve years old, like Lenzi Deluna, who is a sophomore at Brownwood High School.

“Ewing sarcoma which is some tumor mass, which is on the fibula, I believe,” Deluna said. “It was pretty rough on my family. We had a prety hard time, like paying the bills and stuff, but that really didn’t matter to me because I have to have enough strength to overcome this beast.” 

Cancer knows no age and it is a battle no one wants to go into without a little back up. 

Sandra Richardson is the president of Hope From the Heart in Brown County.

“When we pulled up into town, we got to our house, there was this beautiful basket of all sorts of presents for Carley. I just remember the hope and the feeling of, ‘Okay, we’re not alone in this’,” Richardson said. “It’s good to give back.” 

It all started after her daughter Carlee Richarsdon came home from a surgery.

Now, non-profit is supporting other families who’s children are having to fight for their lives, before they really get a fair shot at living one.

“For one, everybody has to travel for treatment and they also have to make sure that the siblings are taken care of, that their day-to-day things go on as normally as possible,” Mrs. Richardson said.

Hope From the Heart’s reach beats beyond the fight against cancer.

“We try raise up money and send all of our survivors, in Brown County, off to college with at least a thousand dollars and hopefully more,” Mrs. Richardson said.

Now, all three mother and daughter pairs are preparing for the next milestone in life; college, and with a little help from Hope From the Heart’s scholarship

“I definitely don’t want to be like, ‘Oh, I can’t do something because I had cancer, ‘I’m too small, it stunted my growth’. I still want to be able to do everything people say I can’t and I think it’s really motivated me to prove others wrong,” Macy Smith said.

They are getting a head start on the their second chance.

“Keep fighting. You have a chance. You can do it,” Lenzi Deluna said.

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