KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Children battling cancer got a chance to forget their illnesses and take a trip on the wild side at the Kansas City Zoo.
Professional bull riders and rodeo athletes, from PBR and World Champions Rodeo Alliance, hosted an evening at the zoo with families of Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer, an organization that means a lot to Stephanie Selk.
“They’ve been along for the journey. They know the journey,” Selk said. “They’ve just helped us cope with everything we’ve been through.”
Selk’s daughter, Karis, was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was 5.
“She ended up getting septic throughout her treatment and we really thought we were going to lose her,” her mom said.
Thirteen years later and Karis has been in remission going on seven years. On Thursday, she didn’t have to think about her battle with cancer. The night was all about having fun and getting up close with zoo animals.
“She’s a totally different person when she’s around this community,” Karis’ mom said. “She just immediately feels at home and she’s embraced by everyone.”
Brady Sims is one of a handful of western sports athletes who took some time, ahead of a big rodeo and bull riding competition this weekend, to be with families like the Selks.
“They’re stronger than we will ever be,” Sims said. “We’ve had a blast here and the kids always do brighten your day and make you feel better.”
The World Champions Rodeo Alliance and Professional Bull Riders donated $8,000 to Braden’s Hope.