Families with childhood cancer lean on Candlelighters

Candlighters offers resources and support for families with childhood cancer

Isabel was diagnosed with leukemia as a child. (Courtesy)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Children diagnosed with cancer can take comfort knowing an organization is working to alleviate some stress for them.

Isabel was diagnosed with leukemia as a child. (Courtesy)
Isabel was diagnosed with leukemia as a child. (Courtesy)

Candlelighters is an organization working to help families and children navigate cancer and provide support when needed.

The organization hugely helped Isabel Valdez, who today is a happy, healthy 11-year-old. Several years ago, that was not the case, when she was diagnosed with leukemia.

“When I took her into the pediatrician I had that mommy crazy moment. Not my child… how can she be diagnosed with cancer?” Maria Valdez, Isabel’s mom tells KOIN.

When the family spent time at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital during Isabel’s chemotherapy and radiation, they met someone from Candlelighters.

“They said I can’t say ‘welcome,’ but, we’re here for you. And I said thank you,” Maria says.

Candlelighters provides families with emotional and financial support and connects them with other families facing childhood cancer at monthly events.

“So much of what these families need is to talk to other families who have trail blazed the path because even though we try to provide resources, we can’t always tell them how to navigate certain things,” Candlelighters Executive Director Jackie Groah says.

Isabel even learned to ride a bike at one of the monthly Candlelighters events.

“When I didn’t know how to ride my bike, people helped me to ride my bike,” Isabel says.

This weekend, Isabel and her mom will be running in the Candlelighters Superhero 5K run/walk at Cook Park in Tigard.

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