One-year-old Channing loves being the center of attention. She gives everyone hugs, has the biggest smile and loves to dance. From her boundless energy, you’d never suspect this incredible little girl is currently battling neuroblastoma. This type of cancer is rare and 90 percent of cases occur in children younger than five years old.
In 2016, Channing began to shake as if shivering, and her family thought she might be having chills. When her eyes began to move uncontrollably, she was rushed to the emergency room. She was diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy immediately.
Channing remained in the hospital for three months, and her mother, Chanda, quit her job to be a full-time caregiver. Meanwhile, her older sister, Chandace, who is in eighth grade, went to live with a family member for the time being.
Starlight’s Dream Halloween
Channing has since moved home, but she is constantly in and out of doctor appointments, and Chanda says it’s difficult to have a life outside of the hospital.
During a visit to Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles, a staff member told her about a Halloween event hosted by Starlight. Chanda had her reservations: Channing has a weak immune system, but she also knew it would be fun for her older daughter to attend as well.
The whole family had a wonderful time. Channing dressed up as Superwoman and Chandace made her own costume! They stayed in the Michaels room for most of the night, making arts and crafts and spending quality family time.
“I’m always at the hospital or home taking care of Channing, so those events are great for us,” Chanda said.
Starlight Day at UCLA
When a Kaiser staff member told Chanda that Starlight was hosting a Starlight Day with the UCLA Bruins women’s gymnastics team, Chanda knew she wanted to bring her daughters. Channing was given a dose of medication that boosted her immune system to allow her to be in public spaces, and off they went!
Two cousins joined the fun and they were all overcome with excitement as the gymnasts took the floor. Channing danced to every song.
The family met the gymnasts afterward at an exclusive Starlight meet and greet. Channing immediately gave everyone hugs. The best part for Chanda was seeing Chandace enjoy her little sister outside of a hospital environment.
“Chandace only sees the negatives of cancer, so when we can come to events like these, it’s wonderful,” Chanda said.
When a child spends months in the hospital, family life comes to a standstill. Starlight helps bring a sense of normalcy and enjoyment to kids and families like Channing’s.
If you would like to help brighten the lives of seriously ill children like Channing, you can donate today. Your gift combined with the gift of others helps turn pain, fear and stress into laughter, fun and joy – because a sick kid is still a kid at heart.Donate Now