COLUMBUS, Ga. — September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. A local couple has taken it upon themselves to raise money for families struggling through childhood cancer. It’s a struggle they themselves remember all too well.
Childhood cancer receives only 4% of U.S. federal funding for research.
Georgia parents Trey and Deidre Bembry went through the costly fight when their daughter was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor back in 2013.
Keris Bembry was only four years old when she started having headaches. Her mother Deidre says she was shocked and worried when little Keris told her it felt like “bones are churning in the back of my head.”
“That description was so alarming to me,” Deidre says.
Doctors later diagnosed Keris with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, an aggressively cancerous tumor that could not be removed because of its position in Keris’ brain.
However, Deidre says the illness did not scare her daughter.
“I can remember one conversation where she told us that she wasn’t scared to die you know she was just like ‘Mom, dad, I’m not scared to die you know I’m going to Heaven.'” she recalls.
Trey and Deidre drained their finances for the next two years taking Keris to Atlanta, Houston, and Cincinnati looking for treatment options. Although the then 6-year-old girl lost her battle on July 12, 2015, mom and dad say the don’t regret a penny spent for Keris.
Now, the two have created the Keris Kares foundation that aims to raise money for other children with cancer and give their families a fighting chance.
“Because their bills keep coming, their jobs are only flexible to an extent, and when you have a child that’s dealing with pediatric cancer, everything in your life completely comes to a standstill,” Deidre says.
“You get that kind of news and you kind of, you know you have to find some fight inside of your body inside your soul,” Trey adds.
They’re holding a walk on Saturday, September 23 at Woodruff Park in Columbus to raise those funds in honor of their daughter. The Keris Kares Royal Run is a 5K with an added 1 mile fun run. Participants can also walk.Click here to register for the Keris Kares Royal Run.