Hope for Hofen — Group encourages Oprah to do show on childhood cancer

Jordan McEntee, Design Editor



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Oprah Please Do a Show on Childhood Cancer — Our Kids Need Your Help.

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Sophomore Sarah Hill is involved in a group striving to bring pediatric cancer to the attention of Oprah Winfrey and the rest of the world.

“Childhood cancer could happen to any of our siblings or really any of us,” Hill said. “If it affects us, why are we not doing something about it? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Hill got involved in the group after growing close with Braden Hofen, the son of Deliece Hofen, the former principal of Stanley Elementary.

“We’ve really been following Braden’s story from the beginning,” she said. “So I’ve gotten involved in the group to try to get the word out.”

In October 2007, when Braden was three, he was taken to the hospital because of what his mom and dad thought was asthma.

They did a chest X-ray and found a gray shadow, so they kept him overnight to run some tests. He was sent home the next day, because doctors believed he had an enlarged liver due to low iron levels.

Deliece talked to his pediatrician multiple times because she knew something was not right. On Dec. 28, 2007, they went to the ER and found a mass so large that other organs were being pushed out of the way.

Braden was diagnosed with stage four of a rare form of childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma.

Doctors said he had a 30-percent chance of five-year survival. If his cancer had been caught in its first or second stage, his odds would be at 80 percent.

“There’s not nearly enough research for childhood cancer,” Hill said. “A survival rate going from 80 percent to 30 percent isn’t ideal.”

Hill said she became passionate about the cause after getting to know Braden.

“I’ve babysat him a few times,” Hill said. “It’s a special situation, and it’s just so cool to interact with him and see him have fun.”

Hill said supporting research for childhood cancer is important to build a strong future.

“They’re kids,” Hill said. “They need to grow up so we have another generation. Childhood cancer kills more kids than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined.”

The group wants to bring childhood cancer to the attention of our nation by getting Oprah to do a show on it.

On Jan.15, the group sent Oprah nine ‘Golden Canisters of Hope’ filled with stories and letters from children with cancer. Their hope is that Oprah will open and read them and do something about it.

“The biggest thing our high school community can do right now is like the Facebook page and suggest it to all their friends,” Hill said. “It’s the best way to stay updated.”

Hill said she believes research and funding for pediatric cancer will increase if more people are aware of it.

“If people know about it, they’re going to take action,” she said. “We can’t just ignore it. Hopefully, all this will spark something because it’s kind of do or die.”