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New foundation raises awareness for childhood cancer

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Trudy Moore had never even heard of Ewing’s Sarcoma until her eight-year-old daughter Reyna was diagnosed with it in March.

“It was totally unexpected. Just out of the blue,” remembers Moore of the day her daughter was diagnosed. “She would complain that her knee hurt and went to the doctor and its like two weeks later we’re starting chemotherapy.”

Now, it’s been six months of surgeries, hospitals and chemotherapy. Soon, Reyna will have to start radiation therapy.

“There’s no words to really sum up what you feel or go through when you go through this especially when it’s your child,” said Moore.

To say Moore was overwhelmed would be an understatement, but then she received a phone call from her sister telling her that a foundation called “The Shaymus Guinn Foundation” was reaching out to them.

“Everybody thinks you have to do huge big things. Of course we’d love to do huge big things but we’re all volunteers, we’re small but we can do little things to help families,” said Valerie Duffeck.

Duffeck is the foundation’s co-founder, and she knows how much those little things can help, because not too long ago she was going through the same thing herself -- when her 11 year old grandson Shaymus was fighting the same form of childhood cancer.

“Through four plus years of treatment, he wasn't a complainer. He worried about his family, he worried about other kids in the unit,” said Duffeck.

Shaymus passed away last Christmas. But his mission to help others lives on in his artwork, in the people he touched, and now through his foundation.

Duffeck and other volunteers are using his experience to guide them. They remember the little things that helped Shaymus -- like having a memory foam pillow, keeping softer, better Kleenex on hand, or even just dollar bills for the vending machines.

“I don’t know how many times everybody is looking in their purse, do you have a dollar?” said Duffeck.

The foundation creates care packages for the kids and their families with these little things. They also help financially as much as possible.

Through their research and work, they found a second goal -- raising awareness and money for childhood cancer research.

“One of the main facts I couldn’t believe when I started researching this was that out of all the $5 billion that’s raised for cancer awareness only 4% go to children,” said Sarah Duffeck, Shaymus’ aunt and member of his foundation.

100% of the foundations proceeds go to the families, thanks to the backing of an anonymous local business. To learn more about the Shaymus Guinn Foundation and how you can help, visit www.shaymusguinnfoundation.org.