MIAMI (CBSMiami) — It was a day to remember for some special kids fighting cancer and blood diseases as CBS4 teamed up with the Dolphins Cancer Challenge and UM’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to bring smiles to the young faces seeking treatment.
On Thursday, the dozens of children who are patients at the center’s Alex’s Place got a visit from special guests.
“There’s nothing more precious than us walking in a room, giving them gifts and seeing that smile and lifting their spirits,” said former Miami Dolphin Troy Drayton.
The 3,200-square-foot Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic is designed to empower young patients with cancer and blood diseases — and to also support their families.
“We’re going to visit with the kids,” said the DCC’s Michael Mandich. “We’re giving them little teddy bears and really brighten their day up, when it can look very bleak.”
16-year-old Keilymar Martinez was diagnosed with an acute form of Leukemia in July of this year. She’s a 4-time national gymnastics champion from Puerto Rico & competed at last year’s World Cheerleading championships.
A lot of times she feels all alone, but not when she’s here.
“They treat me good and explain to me everything well to make me feel okay and safe,” she said.
Her chemotherapy treatments have slowed her down but her spirits are high, excited to meet some of her idols.
“It’s cool,” she said. “I’m excited because I want to be a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins.”
Thursday’s visit is a small part of a much bigger picture to help these kids and the center that supports them.
“Last year, for DCC6, we raised a little more than $5 million representing the largest gift in the NFL and the state of Florida from an event fundraising stand point,” noted Mandich, who plans on doing even better this year.
The next Dolphins Cancer Challenge takes place on February 11th, 2017. It will include five bike routes through South Florida, a 5K run/walk, a finish line celebration concert and a Dolphins Youth Ride.
CBS4 is a proud sponsor of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge. Registration is open now. For more information, go to: https://dolphinscancerchallenge.com/