QC Moms Fight Childhood Cancer: Addi’s Story


Have you ever had to scramble and adjust your schedule when your kiddo comes down with a fever? Perhaps you’ve had to miss work when you REALLY needed to be there, or cancel an important meeting, or miss a fun play date that your other kiddo was super excited about. 

As a mom, you know that when your child is sick the “regularly scheduled programming” of your day is shot. Instead, you spend your time fetching popsicles, dispensing medicines, washing soiled sheets and disinfecting everything in sight hoping that this bug doesn’t hit everyone in the house like the last one did. 

Can you imagine… doing that every day for three years? 

Can you imagine… if instead of strep throat or a fever, your child had cancer? Instead of missing work for a day or two, you’re missing it for weeks or months at a time. 

It happens. 

In fact, it happens more than most of us care to think about. 1 in every 300 children will be diagnosed with cancer. 46 kids – each and every day. 

My daughter was one of those 300. At 16 months old, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and my greatest fear became reality. Instantaneously, my world was flipped upside down as I struggled to comprehend those four dreaded words, “Your daughter has cancer.”

Amber and Daugher Addi

There was no time to prepare. No easing into it. One day life was “normal” and the next it was not.

Her first hospitalization lasted 3 months. At the time, I was fortunate enough to be at home raising my 3 children. Had I still been working outside of the home; I most definitely would have needed to quit. My husband and I became ships passing in the night. He would take over the hospital shift to be with Addi. I would go home to see my boys and do chores that don’t stop just because your heart feels as if it has. Then, we would switch again….and again…and again. 

We were blessed though. Fortunate enough to be able to survive on one income, to have lots of help from friends, to live close to top-notch medical care, and to have decent insurance. We had it better than most and it was still hard. So. Very. Hard. 

I’m skipping, of course, a whole lot of the story but Addi went through hell. She endured 13 surgeries, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, proton radiation, and countless sticks pricks and procedures in attempt to save her life.  

Sick Addi Faith

Nothing worked. On December 4th, 2007, I held her in my arms as Addi took her final breaths. 

During Addi’s battle, I encountered two issues that I simply couldn’t ignore. 

  1. There is a severe lack of funding for pediatric cancer research.
  2. Caring for a child with cancer requires help and lots of it. 

Desperate to change the current realities of childhood cancer, my husband and I started  Addi’s Faith Foundation

Less than 4% of funding is allocated towards pediatric cancer research.  Think about it…out of every available research dollar, only 4 cents are working to find cures for childhood cancers. This lack of funding is precisely why my daughter was treated with 40-year-old, hand-me-down drugs that were designed for adults, proven to be extremely toxic, and worse of all…ineffective.

Addi’s Faith Foundation funds leading research so that safer and more effective treatments can be found. 

Having a child with cancer is an all-consuming juggling act. You continuously oscillate between doing everything humanly possible to cure your child and managing rest of your family and daily necessities of life. The appointments, hospital stays, scans, treatments, and sick days are constant and the bills ever-increasing. Paid time off runs out. Income is cut in half or becomes non-existent. The PAST DUE bills clutter counter tops with new ones being added every day forcing decisions that no parent should ever have to make: Sticking to the treatment protocol or keeping your home. Going for lab work or keeping the lights on.  

Here’s where Addi’s Faith Foundation steps in to provide emotional and financial support to families as they care for their child with cancer. Covering expenses like utilities, mortgages, car payments, and more, AFF will pay bills directly so that parents can focus on the health of their child. 

Parents who are caring for a child with cancer already have enough stress. Our mission is to help them through this tough time so they can better focus on helping their child get better.

You might think that there’s not a whole lot that YOU can do about such a big problem. Well, you would be wrong. EVERYONE can DO SOMETHING, and EVERYTHING helps! 

It’s the small actions of many that create mighty change.


This a a fantastic Family Event. Your family can make a difference and have fun, too.

  • It’s at the Niabi Zoo and registering for the race includes zoo entry.
  • There will be a HUGE kidzone with inflatables, face painting, snacks, music and more!
  • You get a Walk T-shirt (and there are kids sizes!!)
  • Money that is raised will go to support QC area families. 
  • The QC Moms Blog has a team and by joining our team you get 20% off registration! 

Register now!
Join the Team: QC Moms Blog
Enter Code: QCMOMSFIGHTCANCER  (for 20% discount)

Together we can make a difference, one step at a time.

Forever grateful-

Amber Bender

Addi’s Mommy – Founder – Executive Director
Addi’s Faith Foundation

P.S. Read more about how Addi’s Faith Foundation got connected to the QC Moms Blog in Meghan Cooley’s post: Moms Fighting Childhood Cancer in the QC: Join Us

A committed member of the boymom club, Meghan has five active, adventurous, crazy sweet men in her life she often calls her “favorite boys”. Charles is 14, Oliver is 12, Bennett is 9, Simon is 6 and her husband, Luke is a fun, patient, loving father to all these crazy characters. For 18 years, Meghan worked in higher education at a private college in recruitment, marketing, and social media. Now, working from home, she balances four boys, a great husband, freelance writing and social media consulting. Meghan grew up in St. Charles, IL (a western Chicago suburb), attended Augustana College, and is a true Quad City transplant - she loves living in this area! She likes to read, sing, plan adventures, travel and just be with her favorite boys.


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