DES MOINES, Iowa –Cancer is hard to go through, especially when you are a child. A Central Iowa teen is using her experience with cancer to help others.
Coloring is a release for Larissa Dockum. “Because it entertains me,” she said.
It takes her mind off things most 13 year-olds don't have to consider. “She was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was 10 months old. That was February 2007," said her mom Jessica Kelley.
“Why her? I was only 20 when we found out, so I was a kid, essentially. I didn`t know what to do. I had family around to help me. I had to be brave for her. Strong. It was hard. It wasn`t easy," added Kelley.
She went through chemotherapy, surgery, high dose chemo and radiation. The cancer returned eight years later, which required a second brain surgery.
“Scary, tough because I couldn`t see my classmates,” said Larissa.
She gets more headaches now. She's in eighth grade and wants to give back. “She`s got a heart of gold. She came to me one day and said, you know what? I want to do something great. I said, ok, what do you want to do? I want to do something for kids who have cancer,” said her mom.
Larissa decided to collect cans and bottles. She redeems the recycling for money to buy items for the Children's Cancer Connection's Courage Store. “I was just writing down a list of stuff to help the kids at the hospital, because Lord knows how long the kids have to stay at the hospital,” she said.
Larissa hopes she doesn't have to go back to the hospital for her cancer. “If it starts to grow back, she`ll have to go through chemo again. And, they`re just hoping that doesn`t happen,” said Kelley.
So far Larissa has collected enough cans and bottles to buy more than $350 worth of items for the Courage Store. She and her mom also started making care packages of personal items for families in the hospital.
You can send Larissa’s mom an e-mail at email@example.com, if you’d like to donate cans.