Local groups bring the holidays to young cancer patients

Published: Dec. 16, 2015

The holidays came early for the families of young Patients from the MSU Hematology/Oncology Department, thanks to the generosity of several local groups.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, employees from Alliance Payment Solutions, Inc. delivered holiday gifts for a two-year-old boy, his mother, and his sister; while a private group of local women brought gifts for a 16-month-old boy, his twin brother and their mother.

Alliance sponsored the family of Noah Mayers, 3, of Lansing. The Okemos company is owned by Molly Chan.

Emiley Brown’s son Oz, 16 months, of Leslie, was sponsored by a group of friends led by Megan Logan of Okemos, who delivered the gifts with son Graham, 12, and daughter Norah, 10. Oz has a twin brother named Jaxton.

“We’ve done things like this before through our church, but this is the first time we’ve had this kind of personal connection,” said Megan Logan. “I hope we can continue it next year.”

Logan’s group of friends included Liz Goebel, Shannon Cohen, Loli Thawley, Kimberly Garrison, Shireen Hafeez, Kristin Hicks, Erin Boland, Marlene Stover, Charnie Hemmerly, and Molly Chan.

Another delivery is coming from Jackson National Life Child Development Center on Monday, Dec. 21 for a five-year-old boy and his family. The following day, another delivery of gifts is set to arrive from Faye Gibson and daughter Tatum, 12, of Holt. Gibson’s son Harper lost his battle to cancer in the spring of 2009 when he was 28 months old.

“We were grateful recipients of the Christmas adoption program in December of 2007 and feel excited to have the opportunity to pay it forward in honor of Harper and the joy he shared each and every day,” said Gibson.

Several years ago, a small fundraiser was organized through the Birch Run High School volleyball program where Harper’s cousin played as a senior. The money raised sat in Harper’s account collecting interest and waiting for the right feel-good moment or family need, said Gibson.

“On a whim, it was decided that adopting a family for Christmas would allow us to find joy during a bittersweet time of year and it truly is our pleasure,” she said. “We’re looking forward to a new holiday tradition and God’s continued grace upon my family.”

Donations this Christmas are also coming in from Savage Allstate Insurance of Haslett for a two-year-old boy and his family. A one-year-old sickle cell Patient is being sponsored by Patrick Noud, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon in

Sparrow’s Sports Medicine program, his wife Erika and his brothers and parents. Option Care is sponsoring a seven-year-old sickle cell Patient.

Additionally, Jessica Nakfour and her husband are donating three iPads with itunes cards to other young Patients receiving treatment for cancer. One is going to a 5-year-old boy so he can do his school work while he is in the hospital.

“These donations are so helpful for the families who may not have time or finances to buy gifts for their family, due to the time and money they have spent in the treatment of their child,” said Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Cheri Salazar. “The gifts they receive are both needed things like clothing and household items, and fun things like toys and games. The donors are ensuring that these families have a happy holiday during a stressful time in their lives.”