Local News

Young cancer patients and their families celebrate making it to another holiday

Posted December 7, 2019 3:08 p.m. EST
Updated December 7, 2019 7:23 p.m. EST

— For some families, the holidays are about more than giving and receiving: They’re about surviving.

More than 100 children battling cancer and their families celebrated the season together Saturday at a "Christmas Spectacular" in Raleigh.

Melody Davidson has been dealing with brain cancer since she was 5 years old.

Ten years after being diagnosed, she’s doing relatively well.

“Not out of the woods yet, but definitely good news,” her stepfather, Joshua Last, said.

A large part of the family’s life revolves around getting better, with treatments and traveling for appointments.

That can leave little time to do things at the holidays that other families take for granted: “Enjoy being family and have fun and let kids be kids,” said Shannon Brown, director of family programs at Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas.

Brown gets it. She was diagnosed with leukemia at age 14.

“I know firsthand what it is like to put everything on hold to get treatment,” she said.

Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolina supports families with travel, lodging and other expenses, serving more than 875 families in North Carolina and South Carolina.

The group hosted its Christmas Spectacular at North Hills in Raleigh, featuring photos, games and a chance to meet Santa.

“It gives these families a chance to get outside the walls of the hospital and the clinic,” Brown said.

It puts smiles on faces that have known a lot of pain.

What Melody wants for Christmas is pretty simple.

“I love it whenever family comes around,” she said.

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