Funds for a cure: OHOH collects donations for childhood cancer research
Published 3:41 pm Monday, September 28, 2015
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
HELENA–The Helena Sports Complex plays host to several youth football games each week but during the week of Sept. 21, parents and family members were greeted with volunteers from the Open Hands, Overflowing Hearts organization.
OHOH is an organization that was started in September 2014 by 20-year-old Kayla Perry and her family to help raise funds for pediatric research.
Perry was diagnosed with a very rare pediatric cancer and according to Rhonda Smith, nurse practitioner at Children’s Hospital, the organization has raised more than $600,000 in a little more than a year.
Smith and other volunteers set up a table near the entrance to the youth football field on Sept. 22 and Sept. 24 where numerous items were available as raffle items.
Some of the items people could buy raffle tickets for included University of Alabama football tickets, Auburn and Alabama gift bags, various necklaces and artwork, a two-month membership with two unlimited classes to the Helena Health Club, a free haircut and style to the Studio V Salon in Helena and a 45 quart Yeti Cooler among others.
Raffle tickets could be purchased for $5 a piece or $20 could get someone five tickets.
The main reason funds are needed for pediatric cancer research is because most federal funding is not focused on going towards childhood cancer research, according to Smith.
“Only four percent of federal funding goes to childhood cancer research so most funding comes from private organizations,” said Smith. “Open Hands, Overflowing Hearts will donate 100 percent of the proceeds back to pediatric research.”
In addition to gathering donations and raffle ticket money, OHOH also has the support of the city of Helena.
At the Sept. 14 Helena City Council Meeting, Helena Mayor Mark Hall and the council recognized September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and showed their support for the OHOH organization.
“This is just a close thing to all our hearts and something we definitely feel like we need to participate in,” said Hall.
Another inspiring thing the organization did at both the council meeting and at the youth football games was providing two large banners for individuals to sign and leave inspirational messages that would be hung up in the unit at Children’s Hospital where kids get their in-patient chemo treatments.
For more information on Open Hands Overflowing Hearts and Perry’s story, visit Openhandsoverflowinghearts.org.