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Candlelighters plans to extend program to 25-year-olds

Many families facing childhood cancer in the borderplex turn to Candlelighters for help, but the organization is limited to helping those ages zero to twenty one.
Cancer doesn’t care about numbers, so they’re working to expand their program to everyone up to 25 years old.

Dozens of families came out to Ascarate Park with Candlelighters for a fair of fun, food, and remembering those lost to childhood cancer.
Even as these families work their way through devastating diseases, Candlelighters is working to cover people up to 25 years old, which could make a big difference for those who have aged out of the program.

“One of our girls, her name is Christy, she had been cancer free, she had beaten cancer twice, and she hadn’t gone to her follow-ups because of her insurance,” said Lulu SImental, a Candlelighters volunteer.

The lack of resources can mean more dangerous relapses

“Recently she started getting symptoms again and she went and she got diagnosed with cancer,” Simental said.

That’s why Candlelighters is working to extend their charter and help young adults, not just children. Those with cancer in their younger years could have it come back later in life.

“A key to beating cancer is to detect it early. If you wait until symptoms manifest it’s already a little bit more advanced, so if a follow-up can detect the cancer earlier, your chances of beating it are that much better,” said Scott Lynch, the Candlelighters CEO.

A mother and daughter who have just aged out of the program said being able to fall back under the Candlelighters umbrella could make a huge difference in their lives.

There’s not really an insurance that is willing to take on kids or young adults from the ages of 18 to 21,” said cancer patient Daphney Menefee.

Candlelighters relies on grants as their fundraising, but people willing to help can follow this link to find clothing donation bins around town.

KVIA ABC-7

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