Okla. Family Helping Child Cancer Patients By Sending Care Packages


Thursday, October 31st 2019, 10:10 am
By: Ashley Holden


One Oklahoma family is giving back to kids that are diagnosed with cancer.
 
The project started as a Facebook page, but now it's helping families all across the state. 
 
"Who puts the care packages together I do, me and Anna," said 5-year-old Grace Martinez. 
 
Anna is Grace's little sister. In videos from their mom, Kristen, you can see them putting tablets and household items into collapsible wagons and suitcases. 
 
These care packages from Grace's Guardians are supposed to include essentials for families that are making their way through the rough journey of having a child with cancer. 
 
The Martinez family knows whats needed because of their own journey with leukemia. 
 
"You are in no way prepared to hear the words your child has cancer," said Kristen.
 
She remembers January of 2018 clearly. She took Grace from their home in Beaver, Oklahoma all the way to OU Children's.
 
"I was a little concerned about Grace's skin color," said Kristen. 
 
She remembers their lives changing in a matter of days.
 
"So you go from thinking everything's fine, maybe its an iron issue to Wednesday, diagnosed with leukemia," described Kristen.
 
Grace went through treatment, which meant hours on the road every week.  
 
"During year one sometime it was every seven days we would have chemo," said Kristen. 
 
That's when family and friends started a Facebook page called Grace's Guardians. 
 
"What it represented to us was the community that all kind of carried us through treatment." said Kristen. 
 
Almost two years later, Grace is inching closer to finishing chemo and ringing her bell. Grace's Guardians is less of a page and more of a full blown project.  
 
Kristen said after constant prayer, her family decided they wanted something good to come out of their journey. 
 
"We came up with this, what if we could give people all the things we wish we knew we needed," said Kristen. 
 
So far the Martinez family has given out 20 care packages. At first they worked closely with the Kids Korral that's a part of The Toby Keith Foundation. Families in need of a place to stay during treatment often get assistance there. But, Kristen said her family wanted to make sure they reach local children as well. 
 
Now they're working with OU and plan to give out at least 100 packages a year.
 
"What do you always say when you get scared," Kristen asked Grace. 
 
"Be brave be strong," responded Grace. 
 
That spirit is the extra gift this family is passing along in every package. 
 
In November, Grace and her family will be at OU Childrens making a delivery.  
 
To learn more about Grace's Guardians, head to their official Facebook page.  
 

 

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