Organization offers hope, healing for families impacted by childhood cancer
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Aajene Robinson
Since it began five years ago in the wake of one family’s tragedy, Angel’s Hope has been offering quality-of-life programs for children and families impacted by childhood cancer.
The foundation began soon after Kim Eaton’s daughter, Angel, died of cancer in 2016. Despite her own yearslong fight, while she was living Angel collected donations for other children with cancer as well as their families, and put together several events offering those children a fun-filled break from their struggles.
That’s the spirit Angel’s Hope continues today, offering children and their families a chance to embrace life. The organization’s latest addition? The Hope and Healing Retreat.
It’s something Eaton said she’s been dreaming about for years, and a way to provide a break and necessary healing time for moms who have suffered the loss of a child to cancer.
“You are not supposed to bury your children before you bury yourself, and no one gets that unless they have been through it before,” Eaton said. “Not to diminish fathers at all, but the bond that a child and their mother has is definitely different, so when you no longer have your child with you, there are all kinds of emotions and things you go through.”
The retreat includes group discussion, meditation and relaxation opportunities along with memorial projects and time for personal reflection.
The best part of the retreat? It’s free, thanks to donations and volunteers.
But that’s not all Angel’s Hope offers.
“Everything we do, we try to keep an Angel spin on it,” Eaton said. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.
The Moments of Hope program continues Angel’s dream of providing a chance for children fighting cancer to feel empowered, beautiful and fierce with opportunities including photoshoots, the annual Dreamers Ball and Calendar of Hope and the organization’s Comic Book Project.
“We’ve been able to feature about 12 different kids in Alabama who are impacted,” Eaton said. “They get a month (in the calendar), we get to share their story, and they get to come to the photo studio and get all dolled up. We have fun with it.”
Angel’s Hope collects food, toiletry items, toys, and gift cards throughout the year, and these Gifts of Hope are delivered to Children’s of Alabama.
Christi and Daniel-Logan Allen saw Angel’s efforts firsthand, and ever since they’ve been working hard to pay that love forward.
“We actually got to meet Angel, and it’s pretty neat to see that even though she’s not here, her dream is still going,” Christi Allen said. “These are events that cost nothing for the family. You just go and you enjoy it, and you spend time with your friends and have a good time and not worry about the other things.”
Having a few moments to forget the tough times and make new memories is a necessity, Daniel-Logan Allen said.
Like Daniel-Logan, the organization has made an impact on children throughout Alabama. Addie McIntosh is a participant in Angel’s Box of Hope, and mother Shawna McIntosh said they’re lucky to be part of such a wonderful program.
“(The program lets) these kids escape from life at the hospital and have fun and be kids and enjoy themselves,” McIntosh said. “As for the parents, it’s very important that you have a support system when you are going through treatment with your child, and Angel’s Hope has introduced us to many families that we can connect with.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Angel’s Hope, click right here.