CHICAGO (CBS) — A grieving mother is now trying to extend a helping hand to Chicagoans going through the turmoil of childhood cancer.
Finley Bracken was just 2 years old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare type of nerve cancer.READ MORE: Milixen Ardon And Wilfredo Cruz Charged With Murder Of 2-Year-Old Alisson Zelayz, Who Suffered Burns And Bruises In Chicago Lawn
As CBS 2’s Marissa Parra reported Wednesday, the Bracken family was rocked by the emotional, and financial, stress that comes with having a young child with cancer.
“I had to quit my job. My husband had to scale back on his,” said mom Lacey Bracken. “Thankfully our neighbors started a GoFundMe for us – and that was a huge blessing, because even though I wasn’t working, I knew that my bills could get paid, and my other children could eat.”
Neighbors and loved ones raised tens of thousands of dollars to help foot the cost of medical bills. But young Finley died from her disease on Sept. 11, 2020.
Now, the heartbroken mom is fundraising to give back.READ MORE: Kenosha County Sheriff's Deputy Shoots Chicago Homicide Suspect At Bristol Gas Station; Suspect Shot Police K-9 During Confrontation
“We started Finley Forever Foundation because we want to help our local community with families affected by cancer; be able to help them financially; give them gift cards for food,” Bracken said. “I had families reach out to me when Finley was first diagnosed, and it was a blessing. We still talk to them to this day”
This Saturday will mark the first annual Finley Fest. It will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Cork and Kerry Beverly, 10614 S. Western Ave.
Finley’s family says it’s a way to celebrate her life as what would be her fourth birthday approaches, and the money raised will be used to support families of young cancer patients like Finley.
“We want families to be able to spend how they need to, even if that means gifts for the other children who don’t have cancer who can feel neglected,” Bracken said. “We’re raising money for play tents, too, while the kids are isolated in their rooms for treatment.”
So far, they’ve raised enough money for 50 tents.MORE NEWS: Two Chicago Police Officers Wounded By Accidental Friendly Fire While Confronting Suspect In Lyons, Police Say
If you’d like to donate, click here.