Kalamazoo vigil honors children battling cancer

Posted at 10:41 PM, Sep 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-30 22:41:45-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Friday is the last day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and to honor that a group put on a vigil in Kalamazoo's Bronson Park.

Those who attended the vigil also remembered 19 children in the area who recently lost their battles with cancer.

Farrell Howe, who organized the event, has a son battling leukemia.

"My two-and-a-half year old son was diagnosed with leukemia and he's doing well now," Howe said. "He's still in treatment, but obviously in this process I met a lot of families, and everything I've learned about childhood cancer just made me realize that they need advocates out there talking for these kids because there's just not enough awareness out there.  So I've made it my life passion and work to speak for them."

Howe is now an advocate for pediatric cancer through organizations like Cancer Families United, which provides funding for research and treatment.

Melinda Jackson, who lost her daughter to cancer, said she leans on the group for support.

"We couldn't imagine going through it without all these people," Jackson said.

Jackson joined 18 other families who have lost children to cancer.  The vigil ended with two minutes of silence, because a child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes.