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“Jonah’s life and ours were affected in so many ways. But it happened so fast that it was really wasn’t noticed. We adapted every day and still are,” said Troy Howell, Jonah’s Father.
“For Jonah it was his football. He loves to play football and had just started a new league. He loves training and being around his fellow players. Not being able to train really affects him. He lost a ton of weight and muscle. I see the sadness in his eyes when he must ask for someone to help him get up. We just take one day at a time ‘cause we don’t know what he will feel like each day.”
From the financial support and emotional support, NNCCF has been there for Jonah and his family to lean on throughout his diagnosis and cancer treatment. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Jonah has continued to follow guidelines from his doctors and healthcare providers to stay safe and healthy.
Connecting our families, young adults, adolescents, and kids of all ages to facilitate relationships has always been a dream of the founders and staff at NNCCF. This year, the challenge of physical interaction at our monthly events has made this goal more difficult to achieve. But, we have come up with new and creative ways to connect our youngest cancer warriors. Drive through events such as our Halloween Costume party, Spring Fling basket pick-up and Inspire Scholarship ceremony allow families to get out and have some fun with our staff and other families from a distance. Of course our drive through bell ringing ceremonies have been exciting this year as well. On a warm summer evening, NNCCF and Peterbilt also hosted a drive-in movie for our families.
Our children and young adults have also formed relationships this year supporting each other through the cancer journey. At our Know the Gold Radiothon in February we were inspired by the bond and friendship three young women formed through their mutual cancer experiences. Pictured here is cancer survivor and new member of Renown Oncology nursing staff, Haley, supporting her friends in the fight, UNR students, Emma and Katie. High school sophomore, cancer advocate and survivor, Ivy, enjoyed helping Felina play a game at the Radiothon. The comradery that these experiences create and the opportunity to build friendships with other childhood cancer warriors can be so valuable during their very challenging journeys.
On February 19th we celebrated the 10th annual Know the Gold Radiothon hosted by Scheel’s with our partners at Cumulus Media. The event marked a special occasion, as it was the finale to the six month long Know the Gold fundraising campaign with a goal of $500,000 to be matched by the William N. Pennington Foundation. Our supporters topped all records and exceeded the goal by $55,000, thanks to the last minute additional matching goal from Panattoni Development and Alston Construction.
Know the Gold is a grass roots community fundraising campaign made of up over 1500 small and large donations. This year it included funds from virtual events like wine tastings, mask sales, golf tournaments, Doorstep Discos, and more! We cannot thank this incredible community enough for all they do to support us and each of you who helped us reach and exceed our goal!
Kelly Stoll, Programs and Services Coordinator
One of the first smiles our families see at NNCCF is that of Kelly Stoll. Kelly joined the NNCCF team 18 months ago, gracing the office and our family’s experiences with her love of theater, music, Disney and celebrations. This year, Kelly has helped create alternative opportunities for our families to get out of the house with a safe and fun option, including a drive-in movie night at Peterbilt. Kelly makes family support a top priority and will go to great lengths to make sure a family has the resources they need. Thank you Kelly for the sunshine that you bring to the NNCCF Team and our families.
Baseball and sports fans alike had a special experience as award winning San Francisco Giants broadcasters Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper, Jon Miller, and Dave Flemming shared stories and memories on a virtual stage February 10th. Our very own, Kristen Remington, 2 News Evening Anchor, emceed the evening. Adding to the line-up was San Francisco Giant, multiple World Series champion and MVP catcher, Buster Posey and his wife, Kristen. Both the Posey family and the Giants organization helped promote the virtual event appealing to fans in Nevada as well as the Bay Area.
Over 300 fans had fun and were entertained in the comfort of their homes while raising much needed funds and awareness for pediatric cancer. A Giant Event for Childhood Cancer will benefit NNCCF and local children, along with supporting childhood cancer research through the Posey Family Research Grants. Save the date for our live in-person event November 10th, 2021.
All In for Childhood Cancer, Poker Tournament – Date TBD
Alston Construction • Ames Construction • Bonanno Concrete • Desert Fire Protection • Ferroni Foundation • Granite Construction • Heath Foundation • JAG Plumbing • LP Insurance Services • MDB Trucking • MNG Partners • Oxborrow Trucking and Landscape Materials • Panattoni Development • Panelized Structures • Patriot Contractors, LLCR • HP Mechanical Systems • Sierra Nevada Construction • Tectonics Design Group • The Medical Profession • The Phillips Family Foundation • Vasko • Victory Woodworks • Western Nevada Transport
The Inspire Scholarship, which began in 2012, has awarded $465,000 to childhood cancer survivors in the northern Nevada region. In 2019, the program awarded a scholarship to 23 young adults pursuing higher education, vocational, or technical training. The Inspire Scholarship program has encouraged the community’s youngest cancer survivors to follow their dreams and become the strong and educated young men and women of our future generation.
Since the initial launch eight years ago, the Inspire Scholarship has helped with career dreams of applicants to become nurses, pilots, architects, beauticians, and much more. The Inspire Scholarship helps young adults who are currently in the fight, or who battled childhood cancer as a child, to see beyond their diagnosis and into the world of limitless possibilities.
Victoria Matthews, a recent Inspire applicant and childhood cancer survivor, wants to do more for the community now that she is cancer-free. Her ultimate goal is to become a pediatric hematologist-oncologist, and her cancer journey only solidified her dreams to help other kids just like her. In November of 2015, Victoria was diagnosed with cancer and immediately began a nine-month chemotherapy regimen, which took a toll not only on her body but her mind. “I would say that my greatest need before, during, and after cancer has been emotional support,” Victoria said.
The Inspire Scholarship provides emotional and financial support for young adults like Victoria who have been through serious physical, emotional, and financial challenges that may arise during the duration of their treatment process. Victoria’s aggressive chemo schedule forced her to take time away from school to focus on her treatment. She felt she could no longer live a normal teenage life because she missed out on everything due to her diagnosis.
Victoria’s battle with childhood cancer was one of the toughest times in her life, but she continued to fight so she could spend the rest of her life inspiring those around her. When she was just five-years-old, Victoria knew she wanted to be a doctor, and her cancer diagnosis only motivated her further to achieve her dreams. “I just really want to help kids,” Victoria said. “It’s something kids shouldn’t have to go through, but if I can help them, even just a little bit and be the kind of hero my doctors and nurses have been for me, that’s my goal.”
Victoria’s cancer journey taught her to appreciate life and never take anything for granted. She is currently studying cellular and molecular biology at the University of Nevada, Reno to accomplish her aspiration of becoming a pediatric oncologist.
From the moment of a child’s diagnosis, NNCCF works with the family to meet their needs. This can range from financial support for medical bills, travel to and from treatment, and educational support through the Inspire Scholarship or E-SMART programs. The Inspire Scholarship ensures that the child never gives up hope for a bright future.
The 2020 Inspire Scholarship application deadline is right around the corner, and all applications are due May 8, 2020. Young adults are encouraged to apply for the scholarship if they meet the criteria below:
Allison Kibbe, NNCCF Marketing Intern
Press release –
(Reno, NV) – Today, May 5, 2020, the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation (NNCCF) hosted a superhero themed “No More Chemo” parade for Brady, a local 5-year-old boy, who recently completed treatment for childhood cancer. Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Reno Police Department and Reno Fire Department participated in the parade which included patrol cars, motorcycles, SWAT truck, and fire engines. There was also a special cameo appearance from Brady’s favorite superhero, Iron Man.
“In light of what is going on in the world, the celebration parade for Brady today was one of the coolest things we have ever experienced.” said Nicole, Brady’s mother. “Brady has endured so much in the last three years. It brought so many tears of joy to see his happiness and be able to watch him ring the bell.”
Brady rang the bell on his driveway with his parents and siblings, as his friends, family, the NNCCF team, and community supporters, drove by in a parade to celebrate his completion of treatment for childhood cancer. Each ring of the bell paid tribute to every appointment, infusion, surgery, and more that he and his family endured throughout their cancer journey. Brady was given the nickname “Iron Man Brady” during treatment and has showed his bravery and resilience every day since.
“The amount of love and support this community has shown Brady and our family is something we will forever be grateful for. They have made this cancer journey bearable from beginning to end,” said Nicole. “We want to thank our family, friends new and old, NNCCF, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, Reno Police Department, Reno Fire Department, SWAT, Iron Man, Lion and Lamb staff and classmates for making this a day we will never forget.”
In 2014, NNCCF established a bell ringing tradition to help children and their families celebrate the end of their childhood cancer treatments. The celebrations are typically held in the NNCCF office where a large, silver, “No More Treatment” bell is mounted. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social-distancing restrictions, Brady’s family and NNCCF crafted a different way to celebrate. NNCCF cleaned and delivered their portable bell to the Brady family prior to the celebration.
“During this time of quarantine, we are so happy to be able to celebrate this milestone with a social distancing celebration involving so many of our community partners,” said Shirley Folkins-Roberts, NNCCF executive director. “Our bell ringings and ‘No More Treatment’ celebrations are a symbol of hope for our families – It was a long-awaited milestone for Brady and his family, and we are proud to celebrate this moment with him.”
The Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation is the only non-profit in the region solely dedicated to helping local children and their families affected by childhood cancer. NNCCF’s programs and services include the Family Assistance Fund, Inspire survivorship program, Hope for the Holidays program and emotional support through end-of-treatment celebrations and family activities. For more information, call (775) 825-0888, visit www.nvchildrenscancer.org or follow on social media @NVKidsCancer.
3…2…1… No More Chemo for Brady.
Today on #GivingTuesday we were able to help give the best gift of all, hope!
— NNCCF (@NVKidsCancer) May 5, 2020
Today, members of the community along with local first responders participated in a parade celebrating the end of cancer treatment for 5-year-old Brady. WAY TO GO! @NVKidsCancer #endoftreatmentbell #hero #warrior pic.twitter.com/jMzTgvfb50
— Washoe Sheriff (@WashoeSheriff) May 5, 2020
5 year-old Brady kicked #cancer in the butt!! To celebrate his bravery and courage our Reno community came together to say GREAT JOB BRADY with a parade full of family, friends and all kinds of Superheroes!! pic.twitter.com/Sp3PBIvAvI
— Reno Police (@RenoPolice) May 5, 2020
In 2016, NNCCF featured Maya in the fall newsletter when she was 3-years-old and newly diagnosed with leukemia. Maya and her family started their journey with cancer and were trying to grasp what was ahead in the next couple of years. Maya experienced lumbar punctures, steroids, oral chemo, infusions, and hospital visits. Her family shared their thoughts and fears with us, and we gathered around to support them through their life-changing diagnosis.
Now Maya is an energetic 5-year-old with the world at her fingertips, and we are ecstatic to announce that on June 18, 2018, she rang our “No More Chemo” bell. She celebrated with a large group of family and friends, and rang the bell in her new, pink, childhood cancer survivor dress. The party was decorated, in tribute to her nickname Maya the Dragon, with large dragons made out of balloons and streamers.
Maya’s father, Scott, expressed the gravity behind Maya completing her last dose of chemotherapy, “The emotional weight of the moment was more than I expected – there was some cheering, a few high-fives, but mainly there were firm hugs and whispered expressions of gratitude,” he said. “The reality of this transition was not lost on Maya who celebrated as happily as anyone.”
During Maya’s party, we celebrated the outpour of support from the community during her “Aloha Chemo” fundraiser at Shoe Tree Brewing Co. to benefit NNCCF. The fundraiser raised $9,505 to help local children and families affected by childhood cancer.
“NNCCF is more than just monetary support for families trudging through this mud. It is a safe place to visit, experiences for our kids when they are isolated or not, mental health resources, advice, and hugs. Great hugs,” said Sara, Maya’s mother.
Her family included the fundraising element to commemorate the “beauty of community” and support system they had during treatment. “At first I thought the generosity we received was intended to save Maya’s life. Now I see that our people mobilized to save our whole family– that we might come through this as strong as we were before,” said Scott. Maya and her family presented their fundraising check and equally matched our gratitude to the kind people that support our foundation and families.
Press Release –
(Reno, NV) – Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation (NNCCF) awarded scholarships to 19 young adults at the Inspire Scholarship ceremony on July 26, 2018, at The Grove. The Inspire Program helps young adults who battled childhood cancer, or are currently in treatment, to continue their education.
NNCCF offers this program to support young adults who have been affected by childhood cancer in achieving their dreams. The Inspire Program has awarded $268,000 in scholarships to childhood cancer survivors since the program’s inception in 2012.
The awarded scholarships will be applied to many fields of study at an assortment of accredited universities, colleges, vocational and technical schools. This year’s recipients will be attending the University of Nevada, Reno, Boise State University, and Cal Poly among others. Recipients plan to pursue studies in architecture, hematology/oncology, nursing, journalism, teaching and much more.
Guest speaker James Bull, a childhood cancer survivor, delivered a motivating speech at the ceremony. “Being so young you get this premeditated idea for what the rest of your life will be like, but there is nothing that feels better than that captivating feeling of being alive. Like really alive,” said Bull. “You have so much to look forward to. Make memories, take pictures, and live every day like it could be your last. Because we know first-hand how quickly that can be taken away.”
Each young adult submitted an essay and quote they find inspirational. Scholarship recipient Brittany Grecco shared her aspirations to reach for her dreams and be inspiring, “I hope to inspire others by leading through example that you will always get what you put in, that positivity will always win, and that there is always something to be grateful for.” Her inspirational quote is a Tweet from the band ModSun, “No matter the amount of negativity you’re presented with, 5 minutes from now could be your best moment.”
The Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation (NNCCF) is the region’s only nonprofit dedicated to helping local children and families affected by childhood cancer. Its goals are to alleviate the financial and emotional strain of childhood cancer by providing financial assistance, emotional support, advocacy for increased research funds, and awareness of childhood cancer. NNCCF encourages ongoing enrichment for children and young adults diagnosed with cancer through educational and scholarship programs. For more information, call (775) 825-0888, visit www.nvchildrenscancer.org or follow on social media @NVKidsCancer.