Walkers wanted to help support childhood cancer families at 2023 Candlelighters Fun Walk

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Friday, September 8, 2023
Walkers wanted to help support Houston childhood cancer families
Andrew was only 3 years old when he was diagnosed with cancer. His mom said Candlelighters helped bring her family hope in the midst of so many fears and questions in the Texas Medical Center.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A childhood cancer diagnosis can be life changing, but with your help, families facing this reality in Houston don't have to do it alone.

For 30 years, Candlelighters has served the needs of parents and children in the Texas Medical Center at every stage of their journey.

ABC13 and Candlelighters invite you to stand with these families at the 2023 Fun Walk this Saturday, at Terry Hershey Park.

"Candlelighters walks alongside childhood cancer families every single day of the year," associate director Kelsey Tarpinian said. "We focus on immediate needs of families upon diagnosis, we focus on out-of-pocket costs that insurance is not going to help with."

In addition to covering parking, which costs $19 a day in the medical center, the nonprofit also provides meals for caregivers, gas cards, and emotional support programs year around.

The mother of young RJ, a childhood cancer patient impacted by Candlelighters, joined ABC13 to discuss why its work is so meaningful to Houston.

Andrew Mathis was just 3 when he was diagnosed with cancer.

His mother said she didn't even know what kind of help she needed in the midst of that frightening moment.

"They are a light in an incredible dark situation," Jami Mathis said. "The very first day we were released from PICU, someone from Candlelighters popped into the room and was like, 'Hi, here I am. I'm here to help,' and she has been there ever since."

From providing information and resources, to organizing fun events for children and their families, Jami Mathis said Candlelighters was there to bring hope in a difficult situation.

The now second grader is cancer-free, and helping his mom to spread the word about Fun Walk in hopes of raising awareness and funds to help childhood cancer families.

"The Fun Walk is Candlelighters' largest community event, and we really call it our mission in motion," Tarpinian said. "It's just a really fun, great family day."

In addition to free food and entertainment, the Fun Walk also offers a kids area and the chance to stretch your legs for about three miles.

Registration is free, and 100% of funds raised help Candlelighters to provide daily service to these young patients and their families.

Click here to register as an individual or to register your own team

Check-in for the walk begins at 8 a.m., and the walk begins at 9 a.m. on Sept. 9.

Terry Hershey Park is located at 15200 Memorial Drive, in Houston.

WATCH: ABC13 producer shares cancer signs after her daughter was diagnosed

ABC13 producer Cassie Thomas sat down during our 9 a.m. stream to raise awareness for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

SEE ALSO: ABC13 walked to help fight childhood cancers at 2022 Candlelighters Houston Fun Walk