A wonderful aspect of small communities is that they can really pull together to help the people in them who are facing challenges. From the moment nine-year old Cadence Fox was diagnosed with two germinoma brain tumors in 2015, the Fox family felt that support from the community. This support is exactly what brought people out to Milledgeville on Saturday, March 24, to raise funds to build a new house for the Fox family.
The family moved from Warner Robbins to the lake area seven years ago. Cadence was diagnosed with brain tumors within 24 hours of being taken to the hospital for a severe headache. Tara, Cadence’s mother, recalled, “Moving to a small community has been unbelievable during this time. The day Cadence was diagnosed, we were in the hospital. I hadn’t told anybody other than family and close friends, and people were already reaching out to us to help with our other children. They asked if we needed help getting the kids to school or cooking meals for them. We just had an outreach of amazing people.”
Now 12-years old, Cadence has been in remission for two years but lives with eight brain bleeds and various other lifelong effects from the tumors, radiation and chemotherapy. Since her diagnosis, Cadence, two of her five siblings, and her parents have lived in a small, moldy apartment. Her parents are unable to rent a house due to their credit score that is negatively affected by debt from medical bills.
“There’s a terrible mold problem, which is bad for anyone, but especially for Cadence,” Tara shared. “The apartment is so small that her friends can’t really come over and visit. It’s been very difficult living in that type of atmosphere.”
Tara had to stop working for a period of time to provide homecare for her daughter. “Having a child in the hospital is not something that you ever plan for. You plan for college. You plan for weddings. You don’t plan for your kids to be sick in the hospital and for you to quit work.”
Brandy Angel, founder of Be the Change-Brandy Angel Foundation, Inc., heard about the Fox family and is utilizing her 501c3 non-profit to help them raise the money to build a new home. Having recently closed on land in Putnam County on Feb. 9, Angel is organizing fundraisers to construct the wheelchair accessible house and excitedly announced that the groundbreaking will be very soon.
The event on Saturday involved selling chicken dinners and hosting a Bike Poker Run, an activity where motorcyclists travel a specific route with designated stops to collect single playing cards, and when they arrive at their final destination, will see who has the best hand according to standard rules of poker to determine a winner. The last stop was actually the property where the house will be built.
With the sun shining and wind blowing, Cadence enjoyed the day riding in a motorcycle’s side car for the very first time.
“Cadence is in excellent spirits. She’s an amazing kid and doesn’t let anything bring her down,” Tara stated.
David Perry, the winner of the Bike Poker Run, won a $300 purse, which he immediately donated to the Fox family.
“What he did was an amazing thing, because he could have used that money for anything else,” Tara pointed out. “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it takes two or three years to reach it.”
The event raised $1857, putting the family that much closer to having a new home which will provide comfort and security for the entire family.
“We don’t know what the future’s going to hold for Cadence. Inevitably, she’ll be in a wheelchair because of the bone deterioration in her knees, and she’ll have to have multiple surgeries. She’ll always have to be under a careful eye with the brain bleeds and amount of medications she’s on. This house is going to be a great opportunity for us not to worry as much about her future,” Tara stated. “We’ve always been the type of family, even before Cadence was diagnosed, that’s wanted to help others. Our goal is to get our new home to help put us in a position where we can help others. We just want to give back.
“It can happen to anybody. One minute you have a healthy kid, and the next minute you’re slammed with this. You just never know. Never take a single day for granted with your family, because tomorrow is not guaranteed for anybody.”
Donations to the Fox Family Home Build may be made out to Be the Change-Brandy Angel Foundation, Inc. and dropped off at any Bank South location or mailed to 100 Dickens Lane, Bishop, GA 30621.
Donated services – electrical, plumbing, and more – will also be appreciated when the house is being constructed.
Every penny and hammer helps!