The 2021 Careathon to benefit the Child Cancer Fund

By Lucia Viti

Jacksonville —

At age two, Casey Ladd was diagnosed with B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a rare cancer that begins in bone marrow. The now five-year old - who ended her treatment in early June - says that she plans on becoming a zookeeper at the Jacksonville zoo.

Today, as Casey’s family celebrates her health as a “normal kid,” her diagnosis and treatment forever changed their world. Her dad, Mike, says that what came out of no-where halted life for him, his wife and three other children. Immediately introduced to the Child Cancer Fund and Careathon, the family remains forever grateful to everyone who helped.

“We didn’t get here alone,” he said. “This was blood, sweat and tears from everyone - including organizations like Careathon.”

Careathon, now in its seventh year, will host a 13-hour live broadcast on August 20th, at Nemours Children’s Health. A team of Cox Media guests will be on hand to accept donations. Monies will go to the Child Cancer Fund for Child Life Specialist at Nemours.

The Child Cancer Fund is a grassroots charity that assists families of pediatric cancer patients. Over 300 families benefit annually from services that include financial assistance, gift cards and tutoring.

Casey’s family engaged with Life Specialists from the Child Cancer Fund and received a guide that helped the family navigate through the quagmire of the language of cancer. Ladd said the guide - his smart book - was key to understanding the medical and technical terms.

“The guide also helped us to understand what these warriors go through,” he said. “And what they do to fight through this.”

Fortunate to have a supportive financial structure, the National Guardsman admitted to meeting many families who did not. Ladd recognized the impact the Careathon donations made to those in need of financial assistance.

“The money stays local,” he said. “That is the piece that is awesome. The money is not given to a foundation where a large percentage is taken off the top. This money acts locally. And this saves family structure.”

Ladd described Casey’s health as amazing. He encouraged everyone to donate to Careathon. Donations are kept local and affect “people you see every day.”

“Our brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers, it’s our community, he concluded. “And it makes a difference.”

Donations can be made in a variety of ways including a one-time or monthly donation at . There will also be a Carethon Auction sponsored by Paul Davis Restoration. The auction link is . Everyone is invited to browse and bid.

Volunteers will also be on hand on to accept phone donations (855) 636-6877 from 5 a.m to 6 p.m. on Friday August 20th. Texts will also be accepted at PARTNER to 707070.

Lucia Viti

Lucia Viti

Lucia Viti is a seasoned journalist, photojournalist, and published author and works as a reporter for WOKV News. Lucia is a graduate of the University of West Virginia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism.

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