Jefferson Awards: Labrina Soloman
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14, according to the American Cancer Society.
Macon mom, Labrina Solomon, has fought this battle, walking through the gut-wrenching pains of childhood cancer with her son, Joshua.
Solomon is this month's Jefferson Award winner because she turned her personal grief into a way to help other children and parents and finish her child's fight with cancer.
Joshua was diagnosed in 2008 with an inoperable brain tumor called DIPG.
DIPG, or Brain Stem Glioma, is a tumor located in the part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord.
Children diagnosed with this type of cancer typically pass away within a year of diagnosis.
Sadly, five-year-old Joshua passed away in 2009.
Though her son's natural life had come to an end, it was just the beginning of Labrina's mission to set off the alarm about the ugliness of childhood cancer.
She says, "The children have no hope when diagnosed.”
Labrina realized how little research and government funding is designated to childhood cancers, specifically the kind of cancer Joshua suffered from. This prompted Labrina to start her non-profit called Joshua's Wish.
Labrina adds, "Children get cancer,and there’s less than four percent of government funding that goes to all childhood cancer."
Since 2010, Joshua's Wish has donated $153,000 to DIPG Pediatric Brain Tumor research. Each summer since 2012 they've sent two undergraduate students to an approved university to research, with the council of a mentor, a cure for DIPG and the organization makes sure to personally support families battling the disease.
Labrina’s wants to tell a parent, mother, that's going through what she had to go through to never give up hope. She adds, “Always, always keep the faith. Talk to people who've been through what you're going through and just never give up."
Joshua's Wish has become Labrina's hope.
Labrina says, "It helps us to feel like we're still doing something for him. We're trying to find a cure, we're still doing what we couldn't do back then."