PASADENA, California — A fundraiser that drew firefighters from all over the county was held Thursday night in Pasadena to raise money to help cover the cost of treatments for a 3-year-old girl who has been battling cancer for almost half her life.
Cecilia von Harz, a county firefighter’s daughter, was diagnosed in 2013 with Wilms’ tumor, a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects very young children, according to family members.
In the past 20 months, Cecilia has undergone multiple surgeries, followed by chemotherapy and radiation.
But Cecilia’s most recent round of therapy caused damage to her liver and those treatments are now no longer an option, relatives said.
As a result, parents Jim and Jaclyn von Harz sought out alternative treatments that they said have been showing great promise in shrinking her tumors. Cannabis oil and an organic, sugar-free diet have helped Cecilia, her parents said.
“She was sick, she was in pain,” mother Jaclyn von Harz said. “But she’s so much better now. She’s happy, she’s energetic.”
Unfortunately for the family, the holistic alternatives are costly and are not covered by their insurance.
Cecilia’s father Jim, a Los Angeles County firefighter, reached out to the Fire Family Foundation for help with the continued high cost of her treatment. The foundation organized the fundraiser, which drew firefighters from stations all over the county.
“We’re a very close-knit department,” county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. “We say we’re a family and we truly are a family. One of our family members is struggling, and we’re here to help him.”
Thursday’s fundraiser was held at Robin’s Wood Fire BBQ, which pledged half of its earning from the event to the family.
Those wishing to make a donation can do so at the Fire Family Foundation.
A Facebook page has also been set up for those wishing to follow Cecilia’s treatment and progress.