“I had no idea the words Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia would consume my life-and eventually end up taking my daughter’s.”
When Kallie Swan was diagnosed with pediatric cancer at 21 months old, an entire community rallied around the Swan family. Although Kallie ultimately lost her battle in 2015, The Kallie’s Krusade Foundation has continued to raise awareness and funds to support families battling pediatric cancer and other childhood illnesses.
To date, The Kallie’s Krusade Foundation has awarded over $128,500 to more than 100 families, organizations and hospitals since its creation in 2013.
“Although that number is gratifying, it is also heartbreaking,” said Tara Swan, Kallie’s mother. “Over the past seven years we have seen more and more children and their families impacted, specifically by pediatric cancer.”
One of those local families is the Gibbons family of Findley Lake. Their son, Lucas, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, or eye cancer, in 2013. While Lucas was receiving chemotherapy treatments, he was two rooms down from the Swans.
“I saw on social media that another local girl had just been diagnosed with leukemia,” wrote Melissa Gibbons, Lucas’ mother. “I reached out to her mother and learned that Kallie’s Krusade had formed. They offered to help us in any way we needed.”
At that time, Lucas’ eye socket had relapsed so the family was making many trips back and forth to Buffalo. Kallie’s Krusade was able to provide them gas cards, among other things, to make their trips less of a financial burden.
“When your child is diagnosed with cancer, your life changes in an instant and your main priority is your child, not your finances,” Gibbons wrote. “I am forever grateful to (Kallie’s Krusade).”
Today, Lucas is in remission and his family continues to share their gratitude for Kallie’s Krusade by attending their annual events.
Recently, members of the Kallie’s Krusade Foundation approved the creation of an endowment fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to ensure the work they have done so far, continues into the future.
“The fact that CRCF has been around for over 40 years and has greatly impacted our community, we wanted to be a part of that,” said Swan. “So whether its raising awareness or raising funds, we wanted to partner with CRCF to let people know we are here to help.”