Cancer is a tragic disease that affects millions all over the world. Almost every person can say that they have someone in their family or know of someone who has suffered from cancer. Various organizations have been created to help fund research in the hopes that a cure will be found. Now, a 3 year old has decided to do her part as well. Aubrey Castro has been struggling with leukemia since 2013. Her aspirations when she grows up are to be an artist and a mommy, so when she decided she wanted to try and raise money to fund cancer research, her parents suggested that she put her artistic skills to work and paint Mother’s Day cards. “Ever since she’s been going through treatment, she’ll paint or color with crayons or makers,” said Vanessa Castro, who is Aubrey’s mother. “Even when she was at home and on steroids. She had an easel, it was painting and coloring… that’s how the cards evolved.”
After some research, the Castro family found that the federal government only uses a very small portion of their budget to use for pediatric cancer research. According to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, only 3.8 percent of the National Budget goes towards this type of research. Because of this, the family decided to work together to raise money for research funding. So they decided to make and sell cards, and use the proceeds to donate to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which is an organization that specifically funds pediatric cancer research. Aubrey did not know whether to paint butterflies or flowers, both being her two absolute favorites to draw. Vanessa shared Aubrey saying “I want to paint three flowers because I’m 3. She [wanted] pink and purple because those are her favorite colors… She already is such an artist. She does the flower in one stroke.”
All of the materials were donated by a printing company, and the cards can be found on the Etsy store of a family friend and on the St. Baldrick’s Foundation's website for a mere $5 donation. They have sold around 1,500 cards and have created a goal of 2,014 by Mother’s Day. If they do not reach their goal, they will simply sell their cards year round. “She definitely is excited, every day when I get home she helps me assemble them,” Vanessa said.
Although Aubrey is still in treatment, Vanessa shared that she has responded well to the chemotherapy and has only had to have been hospitalized when she was first diagnosed. She has now reached the maintenance phase of the treatment and should be finished with chemo no later than July 2015. The Castro family will continue with their efforts to raise money. They also plan to travel to Boston for St. Baldrick’s annual “Mommas Shave for the Brave,” event. A group of 46 mother’s get together and shave their head in order to represent the number of children who are diagnosed with cancer everyday in the United States. Although Vanessa is prepared for this, Aubrey tells her, “'I don’t’ want you to shave your head.”