Marysville mom of child cancer survivor starts guild to raise funds

  • Saturday, February 23, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

By Jessica Beckstrand

On Oct. 29, 2015, Layla Beckstrand was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma at only 18 months old.

Neuroblastoma affects the nerve endings in your body and can spread quickly.

It has one of the most-toxic treatment regimens of any cancer.

She had a softball-sized tumor in her abdomen and at the time of diagnosis, her cancer had spread into all of the major bones in her body.

After a biopsy, six rounds of chemotherapy, tumor removal, 12 days of radiation, two stem cell transplants, 120 sleepovers at the hospital, six months of immunotherapy and much more, Layla successfully completed treatment on Feb. 21, 2017.

Layla is turning 5 in March.

In honor of her and all kids fighting cancer at Seattle Children’s Hospital, I started the “Strong Cares Guild.”

Its mission is to provide kids a place where they know a cure for cancer is possible.

The guild partners with that hospital to help relieve financial burdens of families traveling to Seattle to enroll in Strong Against Cancer clinical trials and by funding research to improve survival and the quality of life for kids battling rare and aggressive pediatric cancers.

Strong Cares Guild is the only guild in Marysville that fundraises exclusively for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The close-knit community of Marysville really helped my family out during our fight against childhood cancer.

When my family was in need, Tory Klementsen held her annual 5K “Cupcake Run” fundraiser in our family’s honor. The donations from the run helped with our expenses during treatment.

Steve Powell wrote stories in the Marysville Globe about Layla’s fight against cancer to spread awareness of the No. 1 cause of death in children by disease.

Mayor Jon Nehring declared September 2017 and 2018 as Childhood Cancer Awareness month in honor of Layla.

Dave, the owner of Altitude Trampoline Park, hosted my family for their birthday parties. His wife is also a cancer survivor.

MOD pizza bought Layla and her family dinner on her birthday in 2017, not knowing we were there to celebrate her first cancer-free birthday.

Last, but not least, Jesse, the owner of Simply Caketastic, made my son the most-incredible birthday cake I’ve ever seen.

As a new guild, we are looking for help. We are looking for people to be members, for fundraising ideas, for assistance in developing business connections, for sponsorships and for procuring items for an auction, to name a few.

If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity for a great cause, please consider Strong Cares Guild.

Please contact Jessica Beckstrand at strongcaresguild@gmail.com or call 801-200-2288 or you can visit/like our Facebook page “Strong Cares Guild.”

If nothing else, please keep the kids fighting cancer in your hearts and prayers. Thank you.

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