Navigating through 1,100-degree flames, carefully maneuvering through collapsing structures, and going against all natural instincts by running toward fires instead of away from them–this describes a normal day for Misty and Jeremy Blake. While terrifying to many, these are not the most frightening moments in their lives. In October 2015, they came head-to-head with their ultimate fear when they heard the four scariest words ever spoken–your daughter has cancer.
Annie was diagnosed with childhood cancer just two weeks before her fourth birthday. As firefighters of nearly 16 years, Misty and Jeremy have always considered themselves ready for anything…until they had to face the reality that their daughter had cancer and it would change everything. With the holidays approaching, they have chosen to celebrate.
Annie and her family exude optimism, and are committed to doing their best to use this experience to make a difference. Currently, this includes working with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, as Annie was chosen to by the face of the St. Baldrick’s Giving Tuesday fundraising challenge, to raise $50K in one day for kids’ cancer research! Giving Tuesday is a national observance dedicated to supporting philanthropy, celebrated on Nov. 29. As the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, St. Baldrick’s is dedicated to giving kids the happy, healthy childhoods they deserve.
This year, St. Baldrick’s Giving Tuesday fundraising was a major success for childhood cancer research. With a total of nearly $73K raised, the Foundation not only drastically exceeded their goal of raising $50K in one day, but also far surpassed last year’s accomplishment of raising a little more than $60K.
In addition to their work with St. Baldrick’s, the Blake family hosts semi-annual blood drives and is starting the Annie Bananie Foundation. Misty shared that if they can help just one family avoid going through what they have, it’s worth it.