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Bid In Our Charity Auction

The 2018 WOKV Careathon to benefit the Child Cancer Fund of NE Florida is Friday, July 20th.  All proceeds help local families of cancer patients with financial assistance during their cancer fight.  The mission of the Child Cancer Fund is to provide caring support to children and their families battling childhood cancer. There are multiple ways to make a donation to the Child Cancer Fund, including through our annual auction.  It is full of one-of-a-kind items to priceless experiences.  The Careathon auction is open now through Monday, July 23rd at 12pm.  Browse and bid in the Careathon auction here If you are interested in making a donation to the Child Cancer Fund, you can securely do so here.  We also invite you to listen to the WOKV Careathon on Friday, July 20th from 5am-6pm on News 104.5 FM or 690 AM.  We will be taking donations at 855-636-6877.  You can also text the word FOREVER to 41444 to begin the process of making a donation.   
Lucy Sembach had been a late walker and experienced problems with her balance.  The family pediatrician recommended an MRI.  In November 2016 during the MRI, a mass was discovered.  It was a brain tumor.  Ten days later, Lucy underwent a 10-hour surgery.  She wasn’t even 2-years-old at the time.   Her parents, Melanie and Casey, had to explain to their other two children what Lucy would be facing ahead.  After surgery, Lucy had to re-learn how to walk.  In March of 2017 she began chemotherapy. She completed 45 rounds of chemo, and now she is in monitoring status.  Every four months Lucy needs an MRI to make sure there is no regrowth.  The Sembachs credit Miss Joli, the Child Life Specialist, with helping make each visit to Nemours fun for Lucy.  “She treats it like she gets to go and play with kids”, Casey said.  “They always made it fun. Someone was always there to greet you, and she would light up the room when the port was being accessed”, Melanie said.  Lucy used to sing a song in the car on the way to get her chemotherapy: Time to get my chemo on.  FULL STORY:  Listen to the Sembach family’s story  Today, Lucy is a healthy 3-year-old who loves playing with her sister, Kate and her brother, Ben.   Melanie credits the Mothers for Hope, a group that the Child Cancer Fund sponsors, for helping process her emotions during Lucy’s treatments.   “You’re worried about the same things and you can cry together and have those types of talks that you wouldn’t normally have with your best friend or your spouse”, Melanie said.  “This has been the best worse experience of our lives”. 
Cristian Bernal may be 10-years-old, but he has the compassion of an adult, perhaps because he has faced challenges that forced him to grow up fast.  Last July, Cristian was feeling bad during a family trip to St. Augustine, he had trouble catching his breath.  His mom, Jennifer, thought he may be having an asthma attack.  But what doctors discovered was far worse, a mass on top of his chest cavity.  “I was scared and I had no idea what was going to happen to me. I didn’t know if I was going to live or if I was going to pass”, Cristian said.  The diagnosis was Leukemia.  One of his lungs was completely flat.  Doctors treated the mass with steroids, and it was gone in eight days.  FULL STORY:  Listen to Cristian Bernal’s cancer journey Cristian began chemotherapy, but he has had multiple setbacks along the way, the most serious coming in March when he had to be hospitalized for 74 days with sepsis.  The family needed financial assistance and reached out to the Child Cancer Fund.  “They’ve helped with our home bills, so if we need help with the lights or a car note, stuff like that they’ve assisted with. It’s one less thing we have to worry about”, Jennifer said.  The Child Cancer Fund has also helped pay for Cristian to be tutored so that he could keep his grades up.   Cristian is looking forward to celebrating the next big milestone, maintenance.  He wants to be an actor when he grows up, and his Mom says that’s a perfect fit for his personality. 
Every family affected by child cancer has a unique journey, yet they all share something in common: they all begin with heartbreak and fear. In an instant, a completely normal life full of schoolwork and playdates suddenly turns into dozens of hospital visits and procedures. Carolina Parson and her family experienced this two years ago in Jacksonville when she was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor. “The unknowns,” says her father Kris.  “You have no idea what to expect.” Carolina’s mother Tabatha remembers what she was thinking in early 2014 when she first walked into Wolfson Children’s Hospital. “Walking in there not knowing what in the world,” she says.  “All we know is we just had a tumor removed and not knowing what to expect and what you’re going to hear.” Before the tumor was taken out, Carolina stopped breathing and became unresponsive.  Doctors had to drill a hole in her head to relieve pressure. “We almost lost her that night,” Kris says.  “The brain tumor had shut off the ventricles that allows the fluid to go down your spine.  But God’s been good.  She went through an eleven-hour brain surgery the next day, and they were able to get it all, which is a huge blessing.” Kris says they thought they were in the clear when they were told the tumor was removed, but they were far from done.  Doctors told them their daughter could not be considered “cancer free” at the time, and she had a 70 percent chance of survival. Kris and Tabatha, new to child cancer at the time, feared for their daughter’s life.  They didn’t realize at the time that 70 percent is actually an amazingly high number. “Perspective,” he says.  “Seventy percent…some people would kill for a seventy percent diagnosis.  It changes your perspective big time.  Other things in life don’t really matter anymore.” The Parson’s sought treatment at Wolfson, Nemours and the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute. Carolina went through seven rounds of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of proton radiation.  Right now, two years after Carolina’s tumor was removed, every MRI and spinal tap has been all clear. Now that life is becoming more normal, the Parsons have decided to give back. “We would love to be able to help families,” Tabatha says.  “Encourage them, support them emotionally, financially spiritually – and just be there.  And we’re not sure where all that’s going to lead us quite yet.” Kris says he remembers seeing single parents waiting alone in the hospital waiting room. “Just heartbreaking really to see that,” he says.  “We just want to do whatever God wants us to do to meet needs along the way, especially for those that are hurting and feeling alone.  Child cancer can obviously take you to a very dark place.” Tabatha says they want to do something to help families; they’re considering equine therapy. “We are not immune to anything,” she says.  “Childhood cancer can affect any family.”
The third annual WOKV Care-A-Thon held at Nemours Children's Specialty Care in Jacksonville. All proceeds go to benefit the Child Cancer Fund in an effort to permanently fund the Child Life Specialist position. 

2017 Care-A-Thon Pics

John and Liz Schiefen first started noticing issues before the diagnosis came. It was 2003 and their 9-year-old daughter, Kelsey, was limping on one leg and had problems controlling her bladder.  Doctors performed all kinds of tests. Finally, an MRI was performed at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care.  “At that point they found a very large tumor, about the size of a grapefruit attached to her tailbone and in her stomach area”, John Schiefen said.  FULL STORY:  Listen to John Schiefen honor his daughter, Kelsey It was diagnosed as Ewing Sarcoma, and it had already spread to her lungs. Kelsey’s prognosis rapidly deteriorated.  “It spread, it’s under 20%, she only had a couple of months to live”, Schiefen said.  They explained to Kelsey that she had cancer.  “She looked up and said ‘Am I gonna make it ‘till I’m 10?’”. She lived to be 19.   Treatment took the family across the country. They spent months at St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  About five years later, there were complications from chemotherapy and radiation. Kelsey was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in the same area.  She underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Following a 20-hour procedure, Kelsey needed a wheelchair.  In high school she joined the crew team, and loved every minute of it.  “A few years later it came back, but there were no more surgical options.  They tried different experimental approaches and stuff like that, but eventually it took her”, Schiefen.  John calls Kelsey the bravest person he’s ever met.    Their first experience meeting the Child Cancer Fund was meeting the Child Life Specialist, Miss Joli.  “It changed the experience completely.  Joli was there for ten years with us. She’d turn up, I don’t know whether we contacted her or she was just there. If there was a visit, there was Joli”, Schiefen said.  He said Joli convinced Kelsey to go to Camp Boggy Creek for a family weekend, and it ended up being her favorite place in the world.  “Everywhere we went and everything we did, there was always Joli to help back us up and give us that support”.  There is a playhouse with Kelsey’s name at the Oncology Department at Nemours Children’s Specialty Care to brighten the spirits of children during their treatment.  
Getting diagnosed with cancer is something most people consider one of the scariest things to imagine, but for Kathleen Patti, she went through it twice.  She was diagnosed the first time at 7-years-old with Rhabdomyosarcoma and underwent treatment at Nemour's and Wolfson Children's Hospital.  Patti says at the age, you don't really understand what's happening  'Being like a 7-year-old with cancer was, actually, pretty fun for the most part. You just don't have any idea of what's going, so everything was more like, 'Oh, we're painting today,' or, 'Oh, there's someone here with a bag of stuffed animals',' explains Patti.  But she says when she was re-diagnosed at 14-years-old, with the same cancer, it was more advanced, and a lot harder to go through.  'I was just kind of angry at everybody and didn't want to talk to anyone,' says Patti.  She says it's truly her parents and the Child Life Specialist at Nemours-- Miss Joli-- that helped get her through that time in her life.  'Miss Joli was the one who went in there and was like, 'I know we're angry, but we're going to keep having fun and we're going to do this greatly, and have an awesome time.' So, she was always there to kind of just talk to you,' explains Patti.  Patti says her experience with cancer has really shaped her entire outlook on life.  'One thing I learned is to really appreciate the little things in life. It's really made me grateful in my life, that I can see things from a different perspective from most kids or even most adults,' Patti shares.  She says while most people view cancer patients and cancer survivors as inspirational, she says Miss Joli is the true hero, with the cape in the background, encouraging you to enjoy life.
October 1st, 2015, it's a day that changed one family forever.   It's the day, Casey Andeer and her husband Eric, learned their daughter Rue had cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia specifically.   Casey says it was a friend, who first pointed out that Rue looked a little yellow, but she didn't think anything was wrong.   'I thought, this is the healthiest kid ever, there's nothing wrong. Then my mom thought she looked look a little pale, so I took her into the pediatrician and then we were sent downtown and never came home for a week,' says Casey.   As you can imagine, it's the last thing any parent expects to hear.   Casey says, 'I mean, you get told that, and all I could say to the doctor is, 'is it bad, is it bad, is it bad?', because I knew cancer in stages, I never knew anything about blood cancer.'   Casey says it all happens so quickly.   'It's crazy, right after diagnosis, you just immediately get admitted to the HEM/ONC floor, and you just go. You get your port, you get your first dose of chemo, and you don't even know what a port does,' recalls Casey.   MAKE A DIFFERENCE:  How to donate to the Child Cancer Fund But it's the people at Nemours that help everyone get through all the changes, especially the Child Life Specialist.   Casey says, 'Miss Joli at Nemours, from the first port access to 18 months later, she has just been a life-saver. Because they'll do anything, especially when your kid has a difficult time with it. They will make sure it gets easier and easier.'   She tells us the people that work there, really become your family as you all deal with all sorts of problems you never imagined from hair loss to medication side-effects.   'Steroids, which is my least favorite part of treatment, because you can imagine a toddler on steroids. It's screaming for chips and salsa at three in the morning, it's like 'roid-raging,'' Casey says.   Now, more than a year and a half later, Rue is in what's known as the maintenance stage, so the battle continues. Casey says with leukemia and other blood cancers, you just keep hitting it and hitting it and hitting it.   In the meantime, Casey and Eric have actually become board members of the Child Cancer Fund.   'I look forward to many years of being involved and helping and doing what we can to help other families,' says Casey.
Amazing. Super duper cool. Any words that you would think of as being cool, is what Miss Joli is.'That's just one of the many ringing endorsements from current and former patients about Joli Craver, who goes simply by Miss Joli.She's a Child Life Specialist at Nemours Children's Specialty Care and she works with kids as they go through cancer treatments, which can be a scary time for everyone involved.'To help, to me, that's just basic.' Craver says.Patients and their families say she does the job with such happiness, you can feel her presence when you walk into a room, as she greets everyone with a big smile and a warm hug. MAKE A DIFFERENCE: How to donate to the Child Cancer Fund Dealing with cancer and heavy emotions can be tough, but for Miss Joli a key piece of staying motivated and optimistic every single day is her faith.Craver says, 'Faith is a big part of my personal life. It helps me and I think it helps a lot of us to get through.'And that's why Miss Joli tells us she likes to wear a small cross bracelet around her wrist to remind her about what's truly important.'I can see it everyday and the families can see it. Maybe it will bring comfort to some.'As for the future, she's not ruling out doing her job for the next few decades.She jokes, 'I'm going to have my walker. And I'm gonna be like 'I'm coming. You got the light toys?'' And it's clear everyone she comes into contact with would be more than OK with that.

The Latest News Headlines

  • A nonprofit organization has announced a major donation to help pay off the mortgage on a slain Massachusetts police officer's family home. Weymouth police Sgt. Michael Chesna, 42, was shot and killed Sunday in the line of duty.  >> On Boston25News.com: Weymouth police Officer Michael Chesna posthumously promoted to sergeant The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is providing the first $100,000 toward the mortgage and is challenging others to support the family through the initiative. Any money raised exceeding the mortgage will go directly to Chesna's wife and two children. >> On Boston25News.com: Court docs: Man stood over Weymouth officer and shot him 10 times The foundation, established in memory of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, supports military and first responders who are killed in the line of duty. In addition to his service with the Weymouth Police Department, Chesna was also a military veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. >> Read more trending news  Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the foundation, will join Weymouth police Chief Richard Grimes at the Weymouth Police Department at 3 p.m. Wednesday to make the official announcement. Click here if you’d like to donate.
  • A Florida mother said her son saved her life in the seconds before a crash that claimed his life. >> Watch the news report here Greg Yutuc, 22, was the only person killed in a three-vehicle crash near Jacksonville's Buckman Bridge on Saturday afternoon. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: PHOTOS: University of North Florida student saves mom's life in I-295 crash, dad says Stitches lined Gerry Yutuc’s bruised eyelid and his wife, Charina, had a seat belt burn across her chest. “All I remember is seeing that red car and we are spinning around,” Gerry Yutuc said. They were headed back from their family vacation and were driving on I-295 with their three kids in their van when state troopers said a 21-year-old driver rear-ended another car, then cut off their van. “It was too late for me,” Yutuc said. Their son, Greg, was sitting in the passenger seat and grabbed the steering wheel at the last second. “So the impact could be on his side, to avoid the impact on mom,” Yutuc said. >> Read more trending news  Yutuc said the van flipped. “I looked around and saw four people. My wife, my two daughters and without Greg,” Yutuc said. Greg was thrown from the vehicle and an officer on scene told them their son didn’t make it. Florida Highway Patrol said Greg was not wearing a seat belt. “We didn’t have a chance to hug him and say goodbye,” Yutuc said. Since Greg was a child, he’s been on several mission trips and had plans of becoming a missionary, his parents said. “His heart is really sharing the gospel,” Yutuc said. In his 22 years, Yutuc said his only son affected many lives. “I know we have a great son, but I didn’t know the extent of his influence,” Yutuc said. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Drivers concerned about safety on Buckman Bridge It was unconditional, selfless love they said Greg will be most remembered by. “He inspired us and we want to be an inspiration,” Yutuc said. The family said the community support has been overwhelming.
  • Tropical Storm Maria continues to churn in the Atlantic Ocean. The deadly storm has claimed lives on multiple islands in its path. >> Read more trending news 
  • “Deadliest Catch” reality TV fisherman Edgar Hansen pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl at a home near Seattle, but isn’t expected to serve any jail time. Hansen, 47, received a 364-day suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to  fourth degree sexual assault with sexual motivation, the Associated Press reported. He was also ordered to undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation and give a DNA sample to authorities.  >> Read more trending news  According to court documents obtained by KIRO 7, a 16-year-old girl told her therapist that Hansen sexually assaulted her at a Mountlake Terrace home in September. >>Related: ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Blake Painter found dead in Oregon home A detective contacted Hansen’s wife, who confronted her husband about the allegations, court documents show. She told police that he denied the accusations at first, but eventually admitted to touching the girl inappropriately. >>Related: ‘Deadliest Catch’ star gets probation in Uber driver assault Hansen is deck boss and crew member of the Seattle-based crabbing boat featured on the Discovery Channel show “Deadliest Catch.”  The boat’s captain, Sig Hansen, is Edgar Hansen’s brother.
  • A registered sex offender wanted in three separate Houston-area slayings since Friday was caught early Tuesday morning following a brief police chase not far from where authorities say his alleged crime spree began. Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, of Houston, was taken into custody while driving a gray 2017 Nissan Sentra that law enforcement officials said was stolen from one of the victims.  Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said during a media briefing Tuesday morning that an observant citizen called authorities shortly after 6 a.m. to report seeing the vehicle in Cypress, an unincorporated community northwest of Houston.  “It’s possible that he was casing the area in search of his next victim,” Gonzalez said during the briefing, which was attended and recorded by the Houston Chronicle.  A deputy in the area spotted the car and a 14-minute pursuit ensued. Rodriguez was taken into custody just before 7 a.m. A pistol was recovered from the stolen car, the sheriff said.  “We’re very relieved this morning,” Gonzalez said about Rodriguez’s capture.  >> Related story: Shooting deaths at mattress stores in Houston are linked, police say The sheriff said his agency had deputies positioned in the Cypress area before the suspect was spotted because the first crime attributed to Rodriguez, a July 9 home invasion and robbery, took place less than half a mile from where he was ultimately captured.  Rodriguez’s parents also live in the area and he grew up there, the sheriff confirmed.  The first homicide that Rodriguez is suspected of committing also took place in Cypress. Pamela Johnson, 62, was found shot to death in her home there Friday evening.  Gonzalez said during a news conference over the weekend that Johnson’s family became worried when no one could get in touch with her. The last time family members spoke to Johnson was around noon on July 10, the day after the home invasion about two and a half miles away.  >> Read more trending news Detectives investigating Johnson’s slaying found that personal property was stolen, including Johnson’s maroon 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser, the sheriff said. The PT Cruiser was found Saturday evening at Willowbrook Mall after a citizen reported seeing the vehicle aedbandoned in the parking lot. Mall surveillance video footage showed a man -- later identified by investigators as Rodriguez -- park the vehicle around 11 a.m. that morning. The man was seen on video walking through the mall and exiting the building on the opposite side from where he abandoned the victim’s car.  Around 7 p.m. that same night, the body of Mattress Firm manager Allie Barrow, 28, was found by a fellow employee, stuffed between two mattresses in the back of the store. The Mattress Firm store where Barrow was slain is in a strip mall across the street from Willowbrook Mall.  Barrow had been shot in the head, investigators said.  Gonzalez and Houston police Chief Art Acevedo, who held a joint news conference Monday afternoon to identify Rodriguez as a person of “strong interest” and ask for the public’s help in tracking him down, reported that a third homicide took place that morning at a Mattress One store in Houston, where a man was found shot to death.  The Nissan Rodriguez was driving when captured was taken from the scene of the Mattress One homicide, officials said. KPRC in Houston identified the victim of that killing as Edward Magana, 57.  A fourth person, a 22-year-old Metro Lift driver, was also shot in the abdomen and robbed Monday morning in Houston. Acevedo said that the bus driver was expected to survive.  The motive for the crimes was not known, Gonzalez said Tuesday morning. Neither he nor Acevedo detailed how Rodriguez was tied to all the crimes.  Rodriguez was released from prison in September, the Chronicle reported. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel told the newspaper that his release was mandated by law, due to the amount of time he’d already served. Rodriguez, whose violent criminal history dates back to at least 1989, was on parole and was supposed to be on supervised release until 2023. He was ordered to wear an ankle monitor, but the Chronicle reported that he had tampered with it in the days before police and sheriff’s deputies began searching for him in connection with the homicides.  It was unclear if he was still wearing the disabled device when he was arrested.  Records accessed by the Chronicle showed that Rodriguez was sent to prison for attempted sex abuse, burglary and auto theft charges in 1989. Then 17, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. While in prison, he was charged in a theft case out of Montgomery County, for which he was sentenced to 10 years, with that time to run concurrently with his sentence on the previous charges.  Rodriguez was also found with a weapon while serving time, the Chronicle reported. Another 10 years was added to his sentence.  He served 28 years in prison before his release on parole last fall. Texas’ sex offender registry shows that Rodriguez was classified as high risk. 

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