Mom Of Child Cancer Victim Raises Awareness - TribPapers

Mom Of Child Cancer Victim Raises Awareness

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Weaverville – One can hardly imagine something more devastating than losing a child, especially to cancer. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and the Town of Weaverville continues the fight this year to remember one of its residents, Kalina Meinch. Kalina lost her battle with cancer just after she turned eight years old in June of 2021. Kalina had a Wilms (kidney) tumor.

In 2020, Kalina was the recipient of a parade that Weaverville’s Police and Fire Departments joined in after the second battle the young resident, Kalina, had fought with childhood cancer. The parade train was a way of helping Kalina feel more connected since it was in the middle of the COVID lockdowns. While no one could get out of their vehicles to greet her or her family, no candy could be thrown or gifts given because Kalina was still too immunocompromised, but she still received a lot of waves and also waved back, feeling the love of the community. 

For Amy Meinch, Kalina’s mom,  the fight against childhood cancer is very personal. Last year, she connected with Weaverville Police to raise awareness of childhood cancer. The department did two things – started wearing gold patches, much like the pink ones for Breast Cancer Awareness, and set up a booth at the July Fourth event to raise money for research. The event raised about $5,000 in donations.

Asked if she had a goal for this year’s drive, Amy said she just hopes it would do better than last year’s. “I’d really love to see more than that.”

“This year, I’ve kinda went around like a mad woman from place to place explaining why this was important. It encouraged people to Google and do something to help support the cause,” explained Amy. “This year, we are doing it again more a broader, more streamlined scale. The fire department has joined up with the police department to create some awareness next month.” Amy says that the public works department has also joined the awareness campaign, and the town will present her with a proclamation proclaiming September in Weaverville Childhood Cancer Awareness Month at their August meeting.

They will also hold a raffle during the September Art In Autumn event on the 16th from 10 am to 6 pm, with tickets going for “$10 to win one of two great prize packages.” Amy is encouraging people to wear gold color at the event and asking businesses to use gold color decorations, and several businesses have pledged support and donations. All proceeds will go to fund research and are tax-deductible.

Amy is encouraging people to join the town and become sponsors of the drive, similar to a golf tournament (Find more info at Instagram – Amy Meinch and on Facebook under her name). 

The research and stats

Amy says there are only a few drugs to fight childhood cancer. Most, she said, were developed decades ago. “We’ve had a chance to talk to these researchers and groups, and we’re really encouraged by what they are doing. They are really pushing the limits and not just sticking to the stuff we’ve done for the last 50 years.” Most treatments are very toxic, explained Amy, with children not surviving the “treatment” as doctors try to kill the canser.

A few years ago, the chance of getting childhood cancer was 1 in 285. Amy says that number is now 1 in 260. “The one in five that are in treatment will not survive because treatment is so harsh,” Amy said. She goes on to say it is the number one killer of children and adolescents. There are 12 major types of childhood cancers and hundreds of subtypes. She said that around six or eight drugs have been developed and approved for treating these cancers, but those came in the 1960s, and that the research for new drugs is “severely underfunded.” 

Amy hopes the community will turn out and help support this cause, and she thanks the town, police, public works, and fire departments for their assistance in getting the word out.