Ayleen, Jacob, Patricia, Jayden, Ariana, Liam, Joana, Enrique, Samantha, Isaac, Leilani, Tyler, Bridgette, Bryce, Isiuwa, Kaden, Silvia, Alijah, Isabella, Tucker, Addison, Gina, Owen, Kailyn, Lincoln, Hailey, Sergio, Arely and Alexander’s name flash in a sideshow.
Twenty-nine names of 29 children with their own unique journeys, but all affected by cancer.
To help provide support for these children and their families, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation held their annual walk on Saturday.
The Michael Hoefflin Foundation was formed by Sue and Chris Hoefflin in September of 1995, following their son Michael’s medulloblastoma diagnosis – a cancerous brain tumor that starts in the lower back part of the brain, according to mayoclinic.org.
On May 15, 1996, Michael lost his battle with cancer.
The nonprofit organization continues as a means to raise money to find the cure for cancer, and until then support families, like the Hoefflin family, who are dealing with life-changing diagnoses.
“I hear about the passing of children, which affects us all because it’s just like, when are they going to find a cure for this?” said volunteer Lisa Kaminsky.
Hundreds gathered at The Centre for the walk and pancake breakfast.
“We would not be able to continue doing what we do without your generous support,” said Frank Oviedo, chair of the Michael Hoefflin Foundation board of directors.
In total, the foundation raised $71,700 as of Friday night.
The top fundraising team was “Bridgette’s Golden Heroes,” which raised $4,335. Diane Lowery was the top induvial fundraiser who raised $984.
The funds raised go towards providing hospital parking passes, Kare Kits, counseling sessions, gas gift cards and grocery gift cards to local families taking on the weight that a cancer diagnosis holds. Funds also go towards providing grant funding for innovative research to accelerate progress in the fight against pediatric cancer.
“He (Michael) wanted to help,” said Chris. “That Spirit inspired us to create a foundation that we could have an impact. We were confident that we could rally that hope to give back to the families and, hopefully, find better treatments for cancer.”
Liam Tellez served as the 2023 ambassador for the walk.
When Tellez was diagnosed with cancer, his mother Mirta Anguiano did not know where to turn.
“When my son was diagnosed almost a year ago, I honestly had no idea how to deal with everything that was going on,” said Anguiano.
Anguiano was brought to tears and took Tellez’s hand.
“They understand exactly what we’re going through which is why they’re so supportive and loving,” said Anguiano. “I felt at ease knowing that they will be there for us.”
The impact of stories like Tellez and Anguiano’s inspires the nonprofit to continue with their journey 28 years later.
“These kids are our heroes,” said Chris. “They inspire us and encourage us to continue to do the fine work that all of you are helping us to do.”
For those wishing to donate to the Michael Hoefflin Foundation can do so at https://www.mhf.org/donate/.