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“This is for her:” Family gives you a new way to fight childhood cancer

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MENOMONEE FALLS -- A Menomonee Falls family is one step closer to giving people around the state a new way to fight childhood cancer. A new license plate will make a difference.

Ali VerhaalenAli Verhaalen loved to paint.

"She just had such a gift," said Tricia Verhaalen, Ali's mom.

Books she wrote and her artwork are all over the house.

"I always thought she would be an author or an illustrator," said Tricia Verhaalen.

But Ali's life was cut short by an inoperable brain tumor.

"I think about this the last thing before I go to bed every night, and the first thing every single morning," said Tricia Verhaalen.

Tricia and Matthew Verhaalen searched for a way to raise awareness about the disease that killed their daughter.

In December, they announced their idea -- a Childhood Cancer Awareness Vanity Plate for Wisconsin.

Proceeds from the sales of the specialty plate will benefit the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer -- or the MACC Fund.

They got the legislation passed, and in the last week, raised the $10,000 needed to get the DMV to produce the plates.

MACC Fund license plate

MACC Fund license plate

"We hope this will bring awareness for future families that have to go through these times," said Matthew Verhaalen, Ali's dad.

The past few weeks have been especially tough for the Verhaalens, with Mother's Day on May 8th -- and Ali would have turned 12 on April 28th.

"All of our friends get together and try to have a birthday party for her," said Matthew Verhaalen.

The reminders are painful -- but the plates mean hope for other families and ensure Ali's memory lives on.

"This is for her," said Tricia Verhaalen.

The plates should be ready by summer of 2017. They will cost about $115 -- $75 for the annual fee, $15 for the issuance fee, and a $25 annual donation.

Ali Verhaalen


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