BUCKHANNON — The Record Delta recently sat down with Walking Miracles Founder and President Brett Wilson, who is working to spread awareness and information for families affected by childhood cancer.
Wilson is a two-time childhood cancer survivor of leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, who established the organization to support West Virginia families, who are experiencing the many uncertainties associated with childhood cancer. Wilson fought through five years of chemo and radiation at the Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) Canter Center. Along with the chemo and radiation came many long-term side effects.
Wilson officially finished treatment at the age of 12. “Life had just started when I rang the bell,” expressed Wilson. That was when the side effects officially started to make a negative impact. The National Cancer Institute Physician Data Query has an extensive list of late effects caused by childhood cancers. The list explained much of what Wilson was experiencing.
In 2008, Wilson experienced the first of two heart scares. This required the placement of a pacemaker at the age of 35. Five years later, Wilson’s aortic valve relapsed due to weakening of the valve from all the treatment. A year later, Wilson received a second valve replacement.
“When I finished my cancer treatments as a child, I told my mother that I was going to create an organization to help families like ours,” said Wilson. “As a childhood and adolescent cancer survivor myself, I understand these young people and their loved ones need help, guidance and relief as they adapt to being cancer survivors.”
Walking Miracles was then founded in 2012. The foundation’s main goal is to provide a plethora of supportive options to families who are traveling and trying to deal with everything a diagnosis brings. The foundation offers counseling, travel assistance, patient navigation, tablets, survivorship and more.
The average drive to treatment for people in West Virginia is two to three hours. The foundation has a multitude of people on board to assist families in different areas. Since receiving a grant from the state two years ago, $575,250 has been used to help families in 34 of the 55 counties. Wilson and the foundation are currently working to expand to neighboring states as well.
“Having a resource like ours is important to help families walk through the journey,” said Wilson. “I’ve gone through all the landmines and I want to help others avoid what I have been through. I want to be a voice to help them.”
Every donation made to the foundation goes to helping families. For more information on the Walking Miracles Family Foundation, contact walkingmiracles.org or call toll-free at 1 (833) 496-3398.