07 Jan Freezin' for a Reason honors Wiggins Family
The Faulkner County Circle of Friends chapter, a group of individuals working to raise funds and awareness for Arkansas Children’s Hospital, will host its third annual Freezin’ for a Reason 2K Family Run, 5K and 10K on Saturday, Feb. 7, in Conway.
The race was initiated by the chapter as a way to honor the memories of Charlotte and Stella Mulhearn, two children from Conway who received treatment at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. This year, there will be two ambassador families: the Mulhearns and the Wiggins Family.
Healthy children will get sick, but parents expect them to bounce back. Kedrith and Toshua Wiggins of North Little Rock began to notice – with great concern – that their daughter Teecumpsy just wasn’t getting back to “her old self.”
“Each time we took her to the doctor, they would prescribe something. She would get better for a day, then the symptoms would come back,” said Toshua. “She would be sleepy all the time, wouldn’t eat or swallow, had a headache and her joints hurt. She also bruised easily and labored a lot with her breathing. After her third visit in three weeks, her primary care physician wanted to run a complete blood count.”
At age 9, with a white blood cell count of more than 132,000, Teecumpsy was diagnosed with acute mylegenous leukemia. The diagnosis was difficult for the Wiggins Family to absorb, as it meant turning over their daughter’s care to others. Toshua recalls the fear of sitting by, feeling helpless. “As a mother, I want to do what I can for all my children. Initially, her cancer diagnosis took that away from me.”
Four months of cancer treatment is difficult on a patient and a family, but the Wiggins Family is grateful that the ACH staff went to great lengths to incorporate the entire family into Teecumpsy’s care. Thanks to generous gifts from donors, Teecumpsy and her siblings enjoyed the teen room on the Hematology/Oncology floor. There, they could play, watch TV and do homework together.
Teecumpsy’s leukemia is now in remission, but she will see an oncologist at ACH yearly to follow up and check for any other cancers that may come up. She understands this possibility but keeps a positive attitude about her future and exhibits care and concern for others.
“Teecumpsy plans to become a chemist when she grows up. She is looking at developing chemo meds that don’t take your hair out,” said Toshua. “She used to be introverted but since her diagnosis and treatment she has become social, outgoing and articulate about her feelings. Her favorite saying is ‘My body may be broken but I will still go down with a fight.’”
Because of donors, each child who completes cancer treatment at ACH receives an end-of-treatment party for their family and friends. A gift of only $25 can help a child say farewell to cancer treatment. “I want donors to know that when they give – great or small – they are making a difference in the lives of so many families across Arkansas and surrounding states,” said Toshua.
In addition to the race, First United Methodist Church in Conway will host a Pasta Party on Friday, Feb. 6. All proceeds from Freezin’ for a Reason will directly benefit Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
To register for the race or for more information, visit freezinforareason.org.