HOUSTON - Mothers Against Cancer is a powerful group of moms in northeast Houston who share common experiences and a common mission. Their children have suffered from cancer, and now they want to help make sure other families don't have to endure that pain.
They work year-round, raising funds to find a cure for childhood cancer. In just a few weeks, they'll be holding their largest fundraiser of the year.
This year's honoree is Kingwood High School student 17-year-old Brigham Baer. They're impressed with his valiant fight against leukemia. He completed all of his cancer treatments a year ago, is now feeling stronger than ever, and is able to play the bassoon he started playing about seven years ago. He's so talented, they're asking him to share his love of music at the event.
"I'm going to have a lot of fun at this luncheon, and I'm so glad they asked me to play my bassoon, which has been a huge part of my life. It was part of my ‘Make a Wish’ with leukemia. I love playing music with my friends, love composing music, and for this luncheon, my friends and I will be playing some fun Christmas music. As we rehearse together, it's been a joy! It's been fun, and I'm really excited for this opportunity to perform. It just brings me closer to my friends and gives me an opportunity to share with them something that matters to me," states a smiling Brigham, well-known as Brig by family and friends.
Brigham was diagnosed with leukemia his freshman year in high school, and he underwent treatments for three years.
"The first year was really intensive treatment and I had to go to the hospital every week for transfusions and blood infusions and chemo and then it was pills and lumbar punctures for another two years," explains Brig.
His mom sure is a mother against cancer, so she joined the organization.
"I saw on Facebook that there was a Gold Fight Win Campaign in our district and there was a #MothersAgainstCancer, and I wanted to know more about this organization, and so I went to their website and read about them. I reached out and told them I'm a mother who has a son with cancer, would they tell me more about the organization, and how can I get involved? I was really looking for support for myself and for my family," explains Julianne, Brig's mom.
Now that her son is doing better, she's more than willing to help others in a similar position as her family was recently in. They leaned on prayer and their faith during the hard times and are sharing that love now and how it helped them through the dark times, with others.
Her husband, Jeff, believes their son is the perfect candidate to be honored because of his positive attitude during year-after-year of tough treatments.
"He was always the star patient of the hospital. He would always be a favorite patient, and he never, ever complained. It's hard to watch him go through all this as parents, but he was under great care and we're just grateful that we had the support and treatments," explains Jeff.
He also talks about how Brigham's maturity helped them all get through the cancer diagnosis.
"Well, we had lots of conversations, and we're really grateful that he was as old as he was to be honest, because he could understand more about the treatments, why he was having treatments, and why he was going to the hospital so often," says Jeff.
AJ Hack is another mother against cancer and serves on the board of directors for the organization.
"I love being a part of it because it is a group of 68 volunteer women, mostly from Northeast Houston. I love the mission of Mothers Against Cancer because our primary goal is to fundraise just for research, so we are really committed to trying to find a cure for childhood cancer," says AJ.
She agrees with the Baers and doesn't want other families to endure what she and her family went through, as her little boy, Sawyer, had to undergo cancer treatments. He is now considered a survivor and she's doing her part to lighten the path for others, through a project called Gifts of Love.
"When a child is diagnosed with cancer, sometimes their treatment can be very long. My son was in treatment for 41 weeks and the cost of parking can be a big financial burden on these families. We don't want these families to be worried about their parking costs. We want them to be able to focus on their child and helping beat this disease and just being there for their child and we don't want them to have to worry about the cost of parking," states AJ.
Even better - a generous donor is matching all donations right now to double the money to help patients with parking!
All funds will go to Texas Children's Cancer Center, where Sawyer and Brigham were treated. The Mother's Against Cancer luncheon takes place on December 4 at the Humble Civic Center.
For more about the organization visit https://www.mothersagainstcancer.org
For information about the luncheon visit https://www.mothersagainstcancer.org/annual-luncheon