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A house for Davis
“I think I’m looking at my son through rose-coloured glasses. I want so badly for him to feel better, but I’m so afraid he’s on a downward slide and will never feel better again. He is pushing himself but the voice in my head wants to push him more: ‘C’mon Davis, forget about your cancer, just keep going.’ I know it doesn’t work like that; I need to take off the glasses.”
– Janine Weisner
When Davis was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in 2006, Janine and Brad Weisner never imagined they would willingly give up precious time with him, so he could live his dream. Knowing his time was limited, they agreed to let Davis go to Mexico to build homes for the poor.
At 15, Davis had spent a third of his life undergoing painful cancer treatments with excruciating side effects. Davis longed for a life that had meaning beyond cancer—beyond chemo, nausea, nosebleeds and mouth sores.
Davis was one of those rare kids who understood at a young age that life is a gift to be shared. Davis chose to share his gift with the people of Ensenada, Mexico. After months of fundraising, however, he was forced to forgo his plans. With failing health, he graciously stepped aside and asked his sister to take his place on the trip to Mexico with the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta’s Teen Leadership Program.
Jessie came home with the most precious gift of all for her brother—a heart full of gratitude and a desire to help others: “It was amazing to see how much you can change a life by building a home,” she says. “Davis was with me all the way. Building that house in his name changed me as a person. I’m more passionate. I want to make a difference. I want to make Davis proud.”
Thank you Davis and the many donors who inspired our teens in their quest to help families in Mexico. Your generosity and support is moving them to be more, give more, and live more fully.
KIDS WITHOUT BORDERS: A STORY OF GIVING BACK
“Driving to the building site the first day, we saw kids standing along the fence staring into the school yard. Seeing them made me realize how much I take for granted. I complain about getting up early for school and sitting through classes all day, but those kids would do anything to do that.”
– Samantha Andres
Witnessing poverty firsthand was life-changing for Samantha Andres and a group of teens from the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta (Canada), who joined members of the Rotary Club of Calgary and Youth with a Mission in Ensenada, Mexico last winter to build homes for low income families.
The trip was part of Alberta Kids Cancer Care Foundation Teen Leadership Program, which helps teenagers move beyond their own adversities with cancer by empowering them to give back through volunteer work. Before heading south, the teens volunteered at soup kitchens and seniors’ homes in Calgary. They were responsible for raising $1,000 each to cover their airfare, meals and accommodation while in Mexico.
It was worth the time and effort. Samantha came home with a brand new appreciation for life: “Everything I have is a gift,” she says. “I realize it’s better to give back and give others hope than to receive it yourself. I was given so much hope and support during my cancer treatments; I hope we were able to return some of that hope and support by building homes for these families.”
A heartfelt thanks to Youth with a Mission and Calgary Rotary Clubs (West, Fishcreek and South) in Calgary, Alberta for making this international work experience possible for our teens. With your help, kids can overcome their own hardships and make the world a better place.