When Kris Gordon's grandson was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma in June 2006, the family was devastated that the 3-year-old would face treatments and trials to quell the growing cancer.
In the three years since Patrick Chance was diagnosed with the cancer, the family has thrown themselves into raising awareness of childhood cancer and money for research.
Funds raised through various avenues, including an annual plant sale dubbed Patrick's Paperwhites, go to Press On: The Patrick R. Chance Fund for Neuroblastoma Research.
Last year, the local community helped raise $6,200 for Press On through Patrick's Paperwhites.
Press On was formed the year after Patrick was diagnosed with neuroblastoma by his parents, native Augustans Erin and Stephen Chance. The family has often summoned the will to "press on" and finds their strength to do so in their faith.
"It took surgery, 10 cycles of toxic chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, 12 rounds of radiation and 14 cycles of monoclonal antibody therapy to rid Patrick of this terrible disease," said Gordon. "He finished 34 months of treatment in March and relapsed in June."
Patrick is currently participating in a phase I clinical trial because there is no current effective protocol for treating relapsed neuroblastoma, said Gordon, which only underscores the need for funding for research.
"It is fitting that Patrick's Paperwhites kicks off in September," said Gordon, adding that this month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Sept. 12 is Childhood Cancer Awareness Day. "Cancer is the No. 1 disease killer of American children. Each year, more children die from cancer than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, asthma and AIDS combined.
"Unfortunately, pediatric cancer is severely under-funded, receiving less than 2 percent of the national funding for cancer research," continued Gordon. "We are continuing fundraising efforts because clinical research is in dire need of funding in order to develop new and effective treatments for our children."
Last year, nearly 500 potted amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs were ordered through Patrick's Paperwhites. The project's sponsors -- Georgia State Floral Distributors, Green Thumb West, Cold Creek Nurseries and EasytoGrowBulbs.com -- help keep expenses down so more money can go to Press On.
Orders through Patrick's Paperwhites will be taken throughout September and October and delivered in November.
"They will be wrapped and ribboned to make perfect holiday gifts," said Gordon.
Individuals interested in placing an order can contact Gordon at (706) 863-7405. For information on Press On, visit www.PressOnFund.org.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.