A local family is using their daughter’s legacy to help others fight the battle against cancer.
They’re sharing their story of fight and loss to spread one message: awareness about childhood cancer.
At just 5 years old Rachel Howland was faced with a battle for her life. Her mom Mindy Howland said for their family, it was unexpected.
“It won’t happen to anyone I know, I’m not going to be concerned,” Howland said. “But it did happen.”
Rachel was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a form of cancer where cells in the body grow too quickly. After fighting for nearly four years, with countless treatments and trials, Rachel’s battle was coming to an end.
“Before we even finished our scans, our doctor called us into our room and said, Rachel is going to die and there’s nothing we can do, so you need to take her home now,” Howland said. “Rachel was supposed to go to the Lemonade Ball, which is for Alex’s Lemonade Stand. She was going to have a dress and be a princess, and we couldn’t go.”
Two weeks later, in February of 2018, Rachel died peacefully surrounded by her family. Now, one year later, they’re sharing their story of loss that’s turned into resiliency.
“When Rachel was dying, I said, ‘I don’t ever want anything to do with childhood cancer again.’ But Rachel wanted to beat cancer, so I got back on my feet.”
Now the Howland’s are raising awareness about childhood cancer with something Rachel could never experience for herself: an Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a nationwide non-profit for childhood cancer research.
“We need support for our children who battle cancer, don’t turn away,” Howland said.
Mindy Howland has worked with the apartment company IRET to hold an Alex’s Lemonade Stand fundraiser in Topeka.
You’re invited on Friday, May 17th to Pool, Patio, and Fireside in the Westboro Plaza.
The event will have lemonade and some treats from Josey’s Baking Co.
It’s all free but donations are encouraged. It starts at 9 a.m. and will go until 5:00 p.m.
All the money raised will go directly to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The foundation helps pay for research to find better treatments and cures for childhood cancer. To learn more about the foundation, click here.