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Kern County Cancer Foundation Brings Christmas Merriment to Children With Cancer and Their Families

A Christmas party organized by the Kern County Cancer Foundation delighted children who are a part of their Pediatric Mobile Angel Unit Program.
Posted at 8:20 PM, Dec 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-17 23:20:04-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — With no pediatric care facility in Kern County, families who receive this diagnosis are left in a tough place. That’s why the Kern County Cancer Foundation started the Pediatric Mobile Angel Care Unit, which transports children and their families to hospitals out of the county. On Saturday, they helped transport these children in a different way.

“We are having our annual pediatric Christmas party, it is an event we hold for children with cancer and their families,” explained Michelle Avilla, the Executive Director of the Kern County Cancer Foundation.

All twenty-three of the families who were invited receive help from the Pediatric Mobile Angel Unit Program, which provides transportation for children to get to the hospitals where they are treated, which range from LA to Madera, some even commuting to San Francisco for treatment.

“That trip took us nineteen hours,” said Gina Aguilar, Transportation Coordinator for the Kern County Cancer Foundation.

Aguilar is the one who drives the children and their families to their appointments.

“I get really close with the families, they’re my friends, each and everyone of them,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar, along with the small team at Kern County Cancer Foundation, planned the event to maximize the fun for every child.

“The children love crafts, that's why we did a lot of crafts, and then the petting zoo.”

The foundation doesn’t only provide transport.

“We also provide gas cards if they just need a little financial assistance while they’re traveling for their treatment,” said Avilla

One family who receives a gas card is Ruben Moreno’s, who has been traveling to Madera once a week since his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in April.

“It eases my mind. With the way gas is right now, it really is a big help.”

The event opens up connections.

“It gives them an opportunity to meet other families, bond, share stories, provide support for each other, and of course hope,” said Avila.

The celebration included a hot meal and treats.

Then, gifts were given out by Santa that were specially picked to reflect the child’s wish lists and interests.

“We did a lot of shopping.”

Some families have attended the annual event for multiple years.

“Average treatment is three years.”

These families are going through hardships, but on Saturday, it was all smiles.

“We wanted to get them all together so we could get them away from everything they got through and make them all happy. And look at them now.” Aguilar said.

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