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Michael Woods Jr. of Redding is 9. He should be playing with friends, going to school and sleeping in his own bed.
Instead, he’s in a hospital with relapsed cancer. Doctors will do everything humanly possible to heal Michael: chemotherapy, radiation, even a bone marrow transplant, once a donor becomes available.
Meanwhile, it’s hell on earth for a child to endure these treatments, and a whole other kind of hell for parents to watch their child suffer.
Cancer – that indiscriminate robber of health and joy – is one thing. And we are helpless to do a damn thing about it.
Community – that giver of love and support – is quite another thing. But we are able to do the most marvelous things with it and within it.
We may not have it within our power to cure cancer, but we can encircle the Woods family and let them know we’re here and we care. Even if we don’t know them. Even if words fail us.
We can prove it in the most tangible ways. For example, we can help Michael’s parents cover their mounting financial bills and expenses, so their minds are free to concentrate on their son’s wellbeing.
We have a number of ways to help, in general. We can donate blood. We can register as bone marrow donors. We can give to such organizations as Relay for Life and The Alyssa Araiza Wings of Angels, dedicated to children with cancer and serious illness.
This week and next, we can help the Woods family specifically just by buying baked goods, lunch and dinner:
Fri. Jan. 25: 8 a.m. Two bake sales. One at the Redding City Hall Community Room, another at the Redding Police Department. (Michael Woods Jr.’s father is a Redding police officer.)
On the same day, a fund-raiser lunch is available from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the City Hall Community Room, where $7 will buy a tri-tip or barbecued beef sandwich and salad.
Wed., Jan. 30: 5 to 9 p.m. Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar and Logan’s Roadhouse, both in Redding, will both donate 15 percent of that evening’s sales to the Woods family.
For more information, or to contribute to the Michael Woods Jr. account, contact the Alyssa Araiza Wings of Angels Organization at http://www.alyssaswingsofangels.org/