Local organization provides gifts to children battling cancer

When you can't be home for Christmas, it can be a little difficult to get into the holiday spirit, but one local organization is hoping to bring the holidays to children at Dell Children’s Medical Center

“Bobby Lee has been diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. It's a tumor that they found near his liver duct. He's been undergoing treatment for the last 18 months we're kind of near the end,” said Griselda Jaimes whose son Bobby Lee is being treated at Dell Children’s Medical Center. 

Although Bobby Lee has been through a battle most children will never have to fight, he still thinks about the same things as other young boys.

“Every kid kind of does worry about presents and what not,” Jaimes said. 

This year his fears were eased by the Jennifer Wilks Foundation.

“What we do is we come down three days before Christmas and we have each child fill out what they want for Christmas,” said Tim Wilks, president of the Jennifer Wilks Foundation.

Wilks knows exactly how families feel spending Christmas in the hospital.

“My daughter Jennifer was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 14. She spent 420 days in the hospital, had four bone marrow transplants and she lost her battle with cancer at the age of 17,” said Wilks.

That's why he wanted to help bring Christmas to the oncology unit at Dell Children's Medical Center. He said it's his way of keeping Jennifer’s spirit alive.

“Her goal was really to help children and help families so, when she passed away in November 2005, we started the Jennifer Wilks Foundation,” Wilks said. 

This is the 11th year the foundation has purchased presents for those battling cancer on Christmas Eve.

“It's just not a random gift, it's what they want for Christmas, and, not only that, but they pick out what the gift is for their brother and their sister,” said Wilks.

Seeing the smiles it brings to each kid’s face, never gets old.

“I can bring toys from home, but usually he gets bored with them, so just seeing visitors come by and having new toys really brightens up his day,” said Jaimes. 
               
Most of the money used to provide gifts on Christmas Eve is raised during the Jennifer Wilks Foundation Charitable Golf Tournament in April.

To learn more about that or donate to the nonprofit, click here.

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