By Allison M. Roberts Staff Writer Dec 9, 2016 at 8:00 AM
Families and young cancer patients from across the state celebrated together Thursday night at the annual Children’s Security Blanket Christmas party in Spartanburg.
More than 200 people packed The Hangar to enjoy dinner, Christmas carols and fellowship with others who are served by the organization. About 100 people attended last year’s dinner, said Laura Allen, the nonprofit’s executive director. But this year, the organization was able to expand its coverage area and do more for the children they help.
“Last year we were serving families in Spartanburg County only and now we’re serving the entire state of South Carolina and the western part of North Carolina,” Allen said. “A couple who loves Christmas wanted us to do more for our families this year. So this year we’re able to help our families who have a child in active treatment by paying their rent, mortgage, car payment, insurance and utility bill up to a certain amount. For the children in remission, we’re doing that as well to a lesser amount.”
Here are what some families had to say about their experience with the Children’s Security Blanket:
What has the Children’s Security Blanket meant for your family?
Children’s Security Blanket Christmas Party SC families celebrate work of Children’s Security Blanket >
Ashley Garner, Boiling Springs: They have been that helping hand. They assist when we have to travel to Charleston. They assist us with gas vouchers, food, lodging, bills — anything that is a burden to us. They take that burden away so we can concentrate on treatment for our child. We call it love in a blanket. They’re able to assist us and make that transition a little easier and less stressful on us.
Tron Foster, Boiling Springs: It’s like a big happy family inside another family just keeping us warm and safe.
Teresa Pittman, Blacksburg: They’ve been a true blessing to our family. They stepped in and helped us with meals, transportation, bills and even helped with child care when we were going through the worst stages of Ciarra’s illness. They’ve been a true blessing to us.
Brenda Muntean, Greer: It’s very humbling because as a parent you never think it’s going to happen to you. In a second, your life can change in an instant and it has for us. All I can say to other families is please donate to such a wonderful organization because they do so much for the children and the families and they make a difference for all of us.
Bella Muntean, Greer: It means so much. They’ve absolutely helped us with anything we’ve ever needed, they’ve always been here to support us and their events bring everybody together and it’s such a fun experience. It’s really amazing. It’s such a blessing to know these people.
How has the Children’s Security Blanket made a difference in your life?
Garner: It’s a blessing. That love you have and that relief of knowing that if I’m in the hospital I won’t lose everything I have. They’re that person you can go to for prayer, support, talking — just everything with them.
Pittman: They’ve shown me there is light and people there who really care about these people who are going through this. Not only did they stand by us through her illness, but they stood by us after her passing.
Brenda Muntean: They have done amazing things for us. They actually sent us to New York for a second opinion to check on a tumor with other doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. We are so grateful we had that opportunity. If it wasn’t for them, we would not have been able to go. It was very humbling they provided all of that and the sacrifices they made.
What does this party mean for you and your family?
Garner: It’s exciting and we’re thankful because it’s where you can bring your kids and they’re around other kids who are going through the same thing and they can relate. All of us come together as a whole and thanking God and being able to celebrate and have a good time with one another.
Foster: It’s fun and the food is good. We have lots of fun doing crafts. It’s great to come and communicate and see what the other kids are going through and compare and help each other through battles.
Bella Muntean: It’s so nice to have someone else to relate to. Honestly, it’s really fun to connect with others and we all enjoy a nice meal together and it’s all because of an amazing person. It’s such a blessing.
Tron Foster, a 15-year-old from Boiling Springs, got the experience of a lifetime Thursday and Friday at Camp Victory. The camp, sponsored by The Children’s Security Blanket, gave Tron two days of camp since he’s unable to attend in a couple of weeks.