Local Program Helps Kids Battling Cancer

Bismarck - Cancer is the leading cause of death for kids and teens in America...

That's according to the Children's Cancer research fund. 

Emily Medalen is live to tell us how a local program is helping families who have been affected by the disease.

Cancer affects over 15,000 children and teens every year in the U.S.

That means every day, 42 families receive this devastating news.

Here's how the KidStrong program is working to bring back health and happiness to families who are battling through it.

"To hear the words 'Your son has cancer'... I mean, I get chills now, and it's been 3.5 years. It is the most terrifying, helpless feeling," said Taner Ohlsen, Father of Dash.

When the Ohlsen family found out that their 6 year old son had cancer, their world turned upside down.

"When I had cancer, I don't think I was able to do as much," said Dash Ohlsen, Cancer Survivor, Age 9.

"He missed out on a lot of things with his friends, he couldn't go to school a lot of the time, he couldn't participate in school sports," said Taner Ohlsen, Father of Dash.

After close to 4 years, Dash is recovering, and is part of a special program to get him right back on track.

KidStrong is a program offered by Family Wellness for kids and teens who are battling, or have already pushed through cancer at a young age.

Ohlsen says it's a step in the right direction after leukemia took such a heavy a toll on his son.

"The therapy, the medicine, the chemotherapy, the radiation - everything that these kids get, it wears on their bodies."

"I'm so happy that I don't have to go to the hospital anymore," said Dash.

Kleigha Guthmiller was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in June of last year, at just one year old.

"All the things that she's been through have kind of, socially put her back," said Kyla Guthmiller, Mother of Kleigha.

Both parents say they are thrilled that their kids were able to overcome the disease, and are now part of something so inspiring.

"To have a program that these kids are able to have fun, get a little bit of exercise, and get a little social interaction, it's all of those things that they miss out on during treatment," said Ohlsen. 

"This will be very good, as well as having a germ free environment, and to do fun things, right!?" said Guthmiller, as she hugged her little girl.

As for these guys - they're just excited to be kids again.

"That was really fun, and I feel like I can do more now that I'm done with leukemia," said Dash.

Classes are Thursday nights at Family Wellness in Mandan, and are open to anyone who has a child or teen battling cancer. 

 

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