YORKTOWN, Va. (WAVY) – Six years ago, everything changed for the Pak family from Yorktown.Their first born, Wes, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. It’s a childhood cancer that develops in nerve tissue outside the central nervous system. Right after graduation from pre-school, Wes started complaining of stomach pain and a month later, doctors found a tumor in his abdomen. He’s been fighting ever since. Wes’ mom, Krista, describes this as her worst nightmare, but she, her husband and two other boys stay strong for their little superhero. Wes had to be flown to New York for emergency surgery to remove that tumor back in 2011 and the Paks were struggling to quickly gather the necessary funds. That’s when total strangers came together to help raise the money to get Wes to Sloan Kettering. Krista never forgot their kindness. She and 4 friends formed United in Grace.
United in Grace is a non-profit organization that supports children and families battling cancer in our community and beyond. The group sends out care packages, raises funds, hosts toy drives and brings awareness to the issue of childhood cancer. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Krista and the United in Grace volunteers are asking that we, along with local business Be Bold and Go Gold over the course of the month. They’ve created posters and many have already pledged to offer support. More is needed because every 2 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. The battle is hard, exhausting, costly and heartbreaking. Krista reports there is currently no evidence of the disease in Wes’ body and of course, that is great news! However, she also shared he has heard that four other times and relapsed. Regardless, Wes is a happy, strong and kind boy. He is planning to attend Yorktown Middle School and wants to be a pilot when he grows up.
If you would like to learn more about Wes and his journey, check out his Facebook Page, Wes’ Fight Against Neuroblastoma. More than 25,000 people around the world follow him. If you’d like to find out more about United in Grace, visit www.unitedingrace.org