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TOKC hosts Thanksgiving away from home for cancer patients

Posted at 7:09 PM, Nov 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 17:23:24-05

Thanksgiving still is a week-and-a-half away, but for some families Thanksgiving came early.

It's not your typical Thanksgiving gathering, but for these families whose little ones are battling cancer at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

This Thanksgiving feast is just what the doctor ordered.

"We're very happy to be here all together," said patient Yaneli Ortiz.

Thirteen-year-old Yaneli is from Laredo, and has been in the hospital for six months. Her family is staying at the Ronald McDonald House.

Yaneli, along with other little ones, took a break from their daily fight with cancer to eat …

"What’s the best part about Thanksgiving? The food," Yaneli said, with a laugh.

… to be a kid …

"We get to do fun things and we don't have to get stuck in the hospital most of the time,” said 8-year-old Alessandra. “And we can take off our minds what we’re going through and be ourselves."

… and it's all thanks to Triumph Over Kid Cancer.

TOKC started these Thanksgiving gatherings for oncology kiddos and their families in 2007.

"We have been serving patients food and talking with them," said London High School TOKC club member Haley Proctor.

Its mission: to bring joy.

"We're here to carry out the message that everybody is here in this fight with them and they are not alone," said King High School club member Andrew Solis.

Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Catherine Boston said the event lets patients celebrate the holidays even they’re not home to do it.

"It's a great opportunity for them … as a lot of them won’t be able to celebrate the holidays in their own homes, with their own friends and family," she said.

TOKC's “Do That One Thing Council,” made up of students, showed up in full force at the hospital's auditorium …

"Just giving some joy in their lives because cancer is a hard thing to go through, and just talking to them and making them laugh makes my day,” said Veterans Memorial’s Miranda Martinez.

… giving thanks for another day of living to share a meal...

"They were able to get out of their rooms for this evening to come down to have a party and to make canvases,” said Dr. Boston. “And they can bring back this to their rooms as memories of a great night."

Memories to last a lifetime.

Truly, a night of thanks giving.

If you'd like information about the "Do That One Thing" council or TOKC, click here.