MILWAUKEE - With the holiday season in full swing, it’s not all football for members of the Green Bay Packers. Head Coach Matt LaFleur, who has lifted the Packers' offense to new heights this season, is also uplifting several families in Wisconsin as part of his "10 Days of Hope" campaign to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research and care.
"These families are going through a really tough time right now, and there’s nothing that makes me feel worse than seeing these young kids battling through such a nasty illness such as these cancers and it’s just, I feel like it’s the least that I could do," said LaFleur.
It helps 10 families with kids who range from 5 to 18 years old. One is the Carolina family from Milwaukee.
"I would love to get our story out there, and this little guy, he’s a survivor," said Lewis Carolina, father of "Chuchi". "He’s strong."
Lewis Carolina goes by the nickname "Chuchi." At just 6 years old, he was diagnosed with leukemia in July.
"Chuchi started getting bloody noses, getting achy legs," said Natasha Carolina. "We freaked out, of course, because we had no idea about leukemia."
That wasn’t all. This was the family's third major medical emergency in less than a year.
In January, their youngest daughter, Audriella, was born, and spent the first month of her life in the NICU. In March, their 16-year-old daughter, Cecilia, went into sudden cardiac arrest and is still recovering from a brain injury.
"The one thing that we learned about 2020 with all this stuff is for one, patience, and then for two, knowing that we have no control over anything so we just have to stay faithful and know that our kids…we’re warriors," said Natasha Carolina. "We have warrior blood that runs through our veins -- that we can overcome anything.
Following chemo and treatment for their 3 children: "Our kids are on their way to recovery and they’re healthy. It’s been a bumpy road," said Natasha Carolina.
While the coronavirus pandemic has altered Coach LaFleur's ability to meet the families, he said he’s hopeful he can connect with them soon.
"We’re going to try to make time for each one of these families and connect -- any way that we can inspire and give these families reason to have hope," said LaFleur.
"It’s helpful to know that you’re not by yourself when you’re going through this -- that there other people that you can call," said Lewis Carolina.
"Yes it is hard and it is scary, but if you just hold on, stick together, you can overcome anything," said Natasha Carolina.