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Honoring Catie By Helping Fight Cancer

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EFFINGHAM COUNTY, GA -

Almost 13,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer in the next year, and 1 in 5 of those won't make it.

But what do you do after your child passes away?  

For the Wilkins family they took their daughter's death as a call to arms to help others.

"We were just so stunned and in complete shock," explains Jenny Wilkins. "Kids get cancer? Our child gets cancer in her brain."

The brain of then 1 year old Catie Wilkins was connected to a tumor the size of a lime.
 
"It doesn't feel right for your kid to go through something you don't understand and you haven't been through," said Jenny.

Blasts of Chemo, surgeries and radiation followed for the next three and a half years.

But while cancer took her hair and her strength, Catie never lost her smile.

"She taught me more about living than anyone I have ever met," said Jenny Wilkins. "If she felt bad she rested. When she felt good she played hard. She did whatever her little body felt like."
 
A few months after her fourth birthday Catie succumbed to the disease. Her family, still mourning.. Had another challenge ahead.

"Catie died on a Friday. We buried her on Monday and Izzy was born the following Friday."

"How odd to feel such longing for one child, and such joy for another," said Jenny. "If you had told me those two extreme emotions would exist fully at the same time, I wouldn't have believed you."

Extreme emotions which Jenny and Tre turned into action  after hearing about another child's battle with cancer.  

Two decades earlier than Catie, but the same approach by doctors.

"What we found out was that nearly 20 years separated their diagnosis, their treatment was no different," said Jenny. "Catie got the exact same drugs Bailey got. And for us, if cancer is going to affect someone we love in 20 years. We want them to get better drugs."

"A lot of people stay bitter their whole lives and that's just not us," explains Tre Wilkins, Catie's Father. "Why do you do what you do? Well why not?"

And in the last seven years, the Catie Wilkins Memorial Fund has raised more than $100,000 for childhood cancer research and patients.

"I think she'd be proud," smiles Jenny. "I think she'd have fun watching all the people that have come together. To make a difference so that no one has to suffer anymore."

"A cure. they say its within reach in our lifetime given the proper funding, so by golly lets find it."

The Wilkins have several more fundraisers coming up in the next few months and hope to reach the $200,000 mark by march.

If you'd like to learn more about the Catie Wilkins Memorial fund, or how you can donate to Cure Childhood Cancer log on to http://www.curechildhoodcancer.org/

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