Golf event benefits families living with childhood cancer

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In this Hometown Live, take a look at an event held to benefit families with children coping with cancer (KTRK)

Two-hundred forty golfers and slews of volunteers skipped work for a good cause today. They participated in the Candlelighters Tee It Up Golf Tournament to raise money for families going through childhood cancer.

Adrienne Jackson is one of those volunteers. "You get to connect with people in a way you never connected with anyone," she says.

This morning, she helped set up raffle prizes, while golfers lined up to watch two special young men tee off at their annual golf tournament.

"I'm going to hit the first ball today -- trying to do my best," says 11 year-old Braedon Lilley.

Braedon and his friend, 13 year-old Peyton Vasquez both battled cancer. "It was very tough. It made me feel so weak," says Vasquez.

"I was crying a lot because the pokes and medicine hurt my body," adds Lilley.

Now, as healthy boys, they are not only happy to be the stars of today's event, but also to represent this special organization.

"They gave me new friends like Braeden and made me feel like a normal kid during chemotherapy," explains Vasquez.

Candlelighters helps families going through childhood cancer with practical support, such as gas money, hospital parking, and meal passes. But, what Jodi Vasquez learned is that this charity gives so much more.

"I knew my child would be bald and skinny and pale, but I didn't know he would be sick or not be able walk or run...I got to meet other parents, which I really needed," says Vasquez.

Parents like Jackson. "I can't tell you what a parent support group means," Jackson adds. Her son, Korie, passed away from acute lymphocytic leukemia 13 years ago.

"There were days I would wake up and say, 'All I need is a meeting because I needed somebody to talk to who would understand how I felt.' And that's what Candlelighters does."

Now, she's that person to other parents go to for support.

"It makes me feel like I'm giving something back to the other moms who are going through the same thing I'm going through," says Jackson.
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