TOWSON, Md (WMAR) — 2020 has been such a difficult year for so many, but for one Baltimore family, it meant continued challenges for a child with a brain tumor, a stroke, and a car set on fire. But today, a bit of hope was restored.
"2020 has been very challenged for me and DJ," said Ameera Sanders.
Sanders' 7-year-old son DJ has an inoperable brain tumor. In September, he had a stroke that left him hospitalized.
"We are recovering from that, trying to regain some functions. We’re in physical therapy, He has speech therapy," said Sanders.
There all along the way, since shortly after his diagnosis at 4-years-old, was the Cool Kids Campaign in Towson.
"With DJ in school, with him and his social skills, with me and my mental support. They offer support groups for the parents," said Sanders.
Chris Federico founded the campaign in honor of his mother, who died from Leukemia.
"We are there all year round of them. Whether it's for their birthday, whether they need tutoring, whether they want to come here and celebrate the anniversary for the end of chemo, for the holidays," said Federico.
And that’s why Sanders visited last week, to pick up some Christmas gifts, when her car caught fire right there in the parking lot.
"I freaked out and ran back in here," said Sanders.
"The car was engulfed," said Federico.
She didn’t know what to do. She needs her car to get back and forth from the hospital.
"It would be a disaster without transportation," said Sanders.
So the wheels started turning. Within a week, Federico and the Cool Kids Campaign raised enough money to buy her a car.
"We’re very fortunate that our community has come together and helped us present this car to her today and we hope the car lasts a very long time," said Federico.
And more good news on this day: DJ is still hospitalized but he was able to move out of the PICU.
"DJ is 10 times better. He’s still not himself but way better than he was," said Sanders.
It’s not how she thought 2020 would end, but Sanders is grateful she didn’t have to get through it all alone.
"Thank you to everyone who has donated and helped out me and DJ. I’m extremely grateful," said Sanders.
Right now, the Cool Kids Campaign is raising money to help families with tutoring services. They are receiving a lot more requests with the continued virtual learning. You can donate here.