Capitol Lights Up Gold For Pediatric Cancer Awareness

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LINCOLN, Neb.-- Nationwide, every day families lose children to pediatric cancer. And, Nebraska has the fourth highest occurrence of childhood cancer in the country. That's what pushed one family to create the Pediatric Cancer Action Network.

Sunday the group held its first event at the Nebraska State Capitol.

When we talked to now 3-year-old Leyna and her family in early 2014, she was still going through treatment for brain cancer.

Now, she's disease free and she ran around the Capitol like any other kid at the Gold Walk event her parents planned to help families like theirs.

"We went through multiple surgeries and many, many weeks in the hospital in Omaha and traveling back and forth and trying to balance the other four children while we were taking care of her and making sure she was cared for during her cancer treatments," said Karri Ahlschwede.

Unfortunately, not all families have children who make it through treatment. In October, Alexa Lewis lost her 13-month-old son.

"We were separated for two months of the six months of his treatment and then he died two months later. So, our kids missed out on two months of his 13-month life," Lewis said.

That's something Lewis and the Ahlschwedes hope will change thanks to the Pediatric Cancer Action Network, especially if they can get the State to continue funding research.

"That would allow Nebraska families that are fighting pediatric cancer to keep their children here for trial treatments, as opposed to going to Houston, Chicago or Philadelphia, and trying to keep the Nebraska families together while they're trying to fight their pediatric cancer battle," Ahlschwede said.

Looking around Sunday's event, Sammy's Superheroes, Awesome Austin, Team Princess Leyna and #AveryStrong, just to name a few, came from across the State to show their support. Lewis said having the network of families across Nebraska is scary- to know so many kids are affected, but she added