Local nonprofit holds Christmas party for children with cancer

Written on December 3, 2015

By Allison M. Roberts Dec 3, 2015 at 10:08 PM


The Children’s Security Blanket held a Christmas Party at the Hangar at First Baptist Spartanburg, Thursday evening. Vickie Holt, left, does a face painting for Ashley Norris, 5, right, during the party. The Children’s Security Blanket is a nonprofit that helps families with children battling cancer.

The Children’s Security Blanket annual Christmas party is an event that is special to people for different reasons.

The local nonprofit helps the families of children who have been diagnosed with cancer.

This year’s party was held Thursday night at The Hangar, a student youth center owned by First Baptist Spartanburg. There were decorating tables set up where children and their siblings could decorate cookies and cupcakes. Face painting and other crafts also were available.

For Laura Allen, the organization’s executive director, the Christmas party is special because she gets to see the smiling faces of the children who have been helped by the organization.

“This is the night where we come together and we give Christmas to children in Spartanburg County who have cancer,” Allen said.

Ethan Tolleson, 17, has been with the Children’s Security Blanket for about three years. He said he comes to the Christmas party every year, and it’s always fun to be there.

When Ethan was 12, he was diagnosed with cancer. There was a tumor next to his heart, said Shannon Tolleson, Ethan’s mother.

Ethan and his mother spent nearly two years in Houston during his treatments. The tumor near Ethan’s heart prevented them from flying, which meant a 16-hour drive from Houston to Spartanburg — an expense paid for by the Children’s Security Blanket.

“Children’s Security Blanket was really there for us,” Shannon Tolleson said. “It’s meant everything. If it hadn’t been for them, I don’t know how we would have gotten back and forth for all of the treatments. They made a lot of things possible that otherwise wouldn’t have been.”

Jeremca Jackson’s daughter, Mekayla Gist, 16, got involved with the program in March after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma in January.

In April, one of Mekayla’s legs was amputated after she went through chemotherapy. For Mekayla, the Christmas party means a little encouragement.

Jackson said the Children’s Security Blanket has helped her family in a number of ways, including paying for gas and food for frequent trips back and forth to Greenville for Mekayla’s oncology appointments.

“They have helped us so much,” Jackson said. “Just the support has been really great for our family. We really needed that.”

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