Sometimes families who have a child battling cancer need a helping hand not only emotionally but financially.
One organization is doing just that, but instead of asking for money, they want your used sneakers.
A brain tumor isn’t stopping one 5-year-old from being a kid.
Buddy loves playing with toys and games.
“He plays on the computer,” said Buddy’s mom, Delilah Dow. “He fights with his sister.”
It’s a big change from where he was back in December 2011.
“He was not eating, vomiting a lot, sleeping a lot,” Dow said. “He stopped walking. So when he said his head hurt completely, something triggered me to go to the hospital again.
“I caught the bus to the hospital [Phoenix Children’s Hospital]. They did emergency surgery that day for 12 hours,” Dow continued.
Dow found out her son had a brain tumor.
Buddy lived at Phoenix Children’s hospital for six months and since then has been doing chemotherapy to battle his cancer.
“Everybody here really loves him,” said Annie Gieseking, Neuro-Oncology program coordinator at
Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “Yeah, he’s a very sweet little boy.”
Gieseking works with families like Buddy’s who have been diagnosed with brain or spinal cord tumors in the outpatient setting.
“We strive very hard to provide total family focus, centered care and that means helping them understand their child’s diagnosis, getting them hooked up with all the different resources and agencies that can help them and even if it’s financial assistance as well,” Gieseking said.
One of those organizations is the Max Cure Foundation.
“A little boy named Max was diagnosed the day before his fourth birthday with a rare form of pediatric cancer,” said Erica Bailey with the Max Cure Foundation.
Now a six-year cancer survivor, Max’s family started the organization in 2008 to help fund research for pediatric cancers to assist low-income and military families who have children battling this disease.
“My children said, ‘Mom, how do we help kids here?'” Bailey said. “So they asked David Plotkin if we could create a Dunk Your Kicks campaign in Arizona and the Plotkin family allowed us to reach out to Phoenix Children’s Hospital and allowed my children to go to the different Audio Express locations where the boxes are set up.
“There are over 200 million pair of sneakers that are tossed in landfills in the U.S. alone every year. There are 300 million people who walk around barefoot every year with no shoes — men, women and children,” Bailey continued.
“So we found a way to take those sneakers, recycle them as affordable footwear. We sell them in the developing nations, so that we can choose the people that don’t have shoes and we take that money and use it to fund the Roar Beyond Barriers Program.”
Buddy’s family is a part of the program.
They, along with two other families, will benefit from this Dunk Your Kicks campaign here in Arizona.
“We’re not asking people for money,” Bailey said. “We’re not asking you to open up your wallets. We’re asking you to clear out your closet and give us your sneakers.”
Dow couldn’t be more thankful.
“You don’t think at the time, how am I going to eat today? Or just anything, your errands'” Dow said. “You don’t think about that stuff until you’re set in place and you’re like, how am I going to do it?
“And you have these wonderful organizations like Max Cure that come in and help families and it does a lot,” Dow continued.
You can drop off your used sneakers at Dunk your Kicks Collection boxes at Audio Express locations around Arizona and at the Arizona State University-University of Arizona game Saturday, Nov. 30.
For more information visit http://dunkyourkicks.org