Samantha not alone in battle against cancer
Special to the Post Independent
The holiday season just might be a bit brighter for the family of Samantha Lind, a 4-year-old with brain cancer, thanks to the caring New Castle community.
To help the Lind family pay for Samantha’s medical care, administrators at Kathryn Senor Elementary School, residents and the locally based nonprofit organization The Divide Classic have organized a “Walk for Samantha” fund-raiser from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at the school.
Participants will walk all or part of a marked course around the elementary school in support of the Linds, while contributing any financial amount they can to the family.
“All 450 students will bundle up and get outside to walk the course to show their support for Samantha, their fellow student,” said principal Bill Zambelli.
Samantha, a preschooler at Kathryn Senor, was diagnosed in September 2002 with high-grade sarcoma, an extremely rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. She has had seven surgeries since then, and is currently undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments in Denver.
“She doesn’t get the kids’ chemo,” said her mother, Tammy Lind. “She gets the adult chemo because it’s an adult tumor.”
That means Samantha’s little body is ravaged by each strong chemotherapy treatment, and it’s common for Samantha to then land in a Grand Junction hospital for a week when her white blood cell count plummets.
Samantha is scheduled to receive monthly chemotherapy through June, and her mom is hoping she will then be cancer-free. However, Samantha’s doctors are taking a wait-and-see approach because her form of cancer is so rarely found in children. If the treatments through June aren’t successful, “her cure rate will go way down,” said her mom.
While Tammy, Samantha and 3-year-old sister Brooke stay in Denver, Terry Lind manages the family’s New Castle home, takes care of Theresa, 8, and Angela, 6, and works at Accurate Insulation in Carbondale.
The community has been “very generous,” said Tammy. Teachers and parents are making home-cooked meals for the family, and Amber’s Playhouse has donated after-school care for Theresa and Angela.
While in Denver, Tammy, Samantha and Brooke stay at The Inn at Presbyterian Hospital, which charges the family just $10 a night.
Nonetheless, the Lind family is experiencing financial hardship with medical and other bills mounting. And that’s where the “Walk for Samantha” comes in.
“If we can help them get some of their expenses under control, maybe we can help make a really hard time just a little bit easier,” said Kate Carey, who is helping to publicize the event.
Contributors to the “Walk for Samantha” will receive acknowledgement for their tax-deductible donation with a receipt from The Divide Classic, a group that aims to increase awareness of hydrocephalus by providing informational resources and financial assistance to those affected by it.
Complications from brain cancer can sometimes result in hydrocephalus, which occurs when there is an abnormal amount of fluid in the ventricles of the brain.
Students and families at Kathryn Senor have already raised $1,200 for Samantha.
“The children understand that Samantha and her family need a hand, and this is their way of making a difference,” said Zambelli.
The Linds are expected to attend the Dec. 19 fund-raising walk, at which Santa is also scheduled to make an appearance.
It’s a big weekend for Samantha: She turns 5 on Saturday, and plans to take a family trip to Santa’s workshop at the North Pole, courtesy of United Airlines’ “fantasy flights” for seriously ill children.
How to help the Lind family
– Attend the “Walk for Samantha” at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at Kathryn Senor Elementary School.
– Call “Walk for Samantha” coordinator Cindy Kutnicki at 984-0249 to help with the last-minute details and promotion of the fund-raiser.
– Send a check to The Divide Classic at 720 Ginseng, New Castle, CO 81647 with “Samantha Lind” or “Walk for Samantha” in the memo field. Information: 984-0764.
– Sign up to provide meals for the Lind family by calling Julie Knowles at 625-7674.
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Danna Cuc Valenzuela and Logan Averill are second graders at Riverview School and have been friends since preschool, so they’re pretty familiar with what’s behind each other’s masks.