Tulsa group fighting cancer brings Christmas cheer to some area children

Monday, December 27th 2004, 10:10 am
By: News On 6

More than 18,000 Oklahomans were diagnosed with cancer over the past year. It's a disease that has touched a lot of lives, most has a friend or loved one affected by cancer.

A group of Tulsa volunteers is trying to make things a little brighter for children with the disease, many of whom spent the holidays in the hospital. News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin went along on their mission of cheer, handing out toys to patients.

Cancer didn't stop Christmas from coming for 3 year old Brooke Dykes, even if she opened some of her toys in a hospital bed. Brooke was diagnosed with a rare type of brain tumor. After two surgeries and chemotherapy, Brooke is currently cancer-free. But with 6-months to go the treatments are taking a toll on the entire family. Brooke’s mom Janette Dykes: "Probably just not being able to resume any type of normal life for her and for us both."

Brooke is just one of the children touched by the efforts of the group 'Cancer Sucks.' Volunteers made the rounds at St. Francis Hospital’s pediatric cancer ward, handing out toys and some holiday cheer. "It breaks your heart; it's really hard to deal with. It's real life. Makes you realize what you got." Rick Horton founded the group when his own mother died from the disease. He says some people may raise their eyebrows at the group's name, but anyone who's lost a loved one to cancer knows what he's talking about. "Cause it really sucks to have cancer, but it sucks a whole lot more to be a kid with cancer."

For Brooke's family, the visit is a welcome diversion and a chance for her 3 year old to act like a kid. "You always gotta know there are other people who've got it worse and be thankful for how she's doing. God made her tough."

This was the group’s first toy drive. Organizers say a last minute gift of a thousand toys from the Cherokee Casino made it a success.

The group's main purpose is to raise money for cancer research. This year, volunteers raised $25,000.