Topeka family works to help children with cancer

The family provided this photo to Samantha Foster and The Capital-Journal. This is from the first Team Blake Golf Classic. Blake Cazier was 1 year old here. He died less than two years later.

TOPEKA, Kan. — A Topeka couple whose 2-year-old son died of cancer has found healing in supporting other families through a nonprofit founded in their child’s memory.

Team Blake has already donated $18,000 to five local families with a child fighting a life-threatening illness. The nonprofit has also prepared hundreds of Easter and Christmas baskets for children at Stormont Vail and Children’s Mercy hospitals, sends care packages each week to children and has given more than $10,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Kansas, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported .

Team Blake has also helped families cover rent, medical bills and transportation expenses, said Jaclyn Cazier, the nonprofit’s founder.

Jaclyn Cazier. Image courtesy of Samantha Foster and The Capital-Journal.

“The burden that cancer has on these families — it’s a blessing to be able to lift that burden, and it’s obviously very healing to my husband and I at the same time, because we’re obviously still grieving,” she said.

Cazier’s son Blake underwent 15 months of treatment after he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, which affects the blood and bone marrow. He died last year.

“I remember what it was like for Blake,” Cazier said of her son’s hospital stays. “Someone would bring in a package, and just to see his face light up and forget that he had all these tubes or that he was getting poked was really just a blessing.”

Much of the nonprofit’s funds for helping families come through the Team Blake Memorial Golf Classic, which drew more than 50 teams last year. The third annual golf tournament will be held Sept. 16.

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