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McKinney Mom Rallies the Forces in the Battle Against Cancer

Some volunteers leap onto the scene in a big way, heading organizations and leading the charge; others toil quietly behind the scenes, with more humble gestures that keep causes and efforts humming smoothly along. Carrie Rogers does both, breathing life into efforts to support local families of children with cancer, from top to bottom.

Making a personal connection is the heart of the matter for this McKinney mother of three. Rogers first participated in Light the Night leukemia awareness walks in support of relatives of one of her husband’s co-workers whose baby girl had cancer. She went on to join groups devoted to support the families of children with cancer: Heroes for Children (www.heroesforchildren.org) and then Cancer Warriors (www.cancerwarriors.org), where she serves on the board of directors.

An insurance policy administrator by day, after hours Rogers pours her heart into caring for families touched by cancer, remembering the little touches that lighten dark days: help with errands, carpooling children, babysitting and more. DallasChild caught up with this busy lady to find out what keeps her spark alight.

Of all the organizations and events you’ve been involved with, where do you think you’ve made the most impact?
When I was taking meals to the local hospitals for families whose child was in fighting cancer, bringing magazines, games and calling cards up to them — anything to help ease some of the burden of being in a hospital for so long with their child.

How has your volunteer work impacted your own family?
I love nothing more then for my kids to watch me giving back. Life is about making a difference in the world and watching others (be) happy and loving life. And I want my kids to realize that things don’t revolve around just them, that our job is to help brighten the lives of all of those around us that need it.

Conversely, how has your family impacted the way you approach your volunteer work?
I count my blessings on a daily basis for what I have, but I also know that it can change in the blink of an eye. I couldn’t imagine having to endure what these families are going through. I know if I had to, I’d want nothing more than support from everyone around me, people to help lift me up when I really need it. So I try to give the families what I know would make a difference in my life if the tables were turned.

Does your family play an active role in supporting your volunteer work?
They participate in the Light the Night Walk with me and understand why I walk. They love helping me pick out gifts for the various warriors’ gifts that I need.

What is the most emotionally challenging or draining aspect of your volunteer work? Watching the kids go through what they are going through and their parents trying to make sense of it all. One day they’ve got a perfect, healthy child, and the next they’re discussing how to save their child’s life. Some of these kids have gone through more in their five to six years of life than we have our entire lives as adults. As parents, we don’t like to watch our children have to endure this kind of pain.

Working one-on-one is obviously a calling for you. Is there anything you’ve discovered over the course of helping children and families with cancer that has surprised you?
The way the kids have handled everything they’ve had to go through. They are really strong, always have a smile on their faces and are usually trying to help the adults around them feel better about what they as kids are going through. They go in for spinal taps, blood transfusions, blood work after blood work, and do it all with grace.  

What hopes and goals do you have for the future?
Ideally, I’d hope there was no longer the need for organizations like this, that there would be a cure for cancer. I would like to see more people reach out and brighten the day of some family struggling with cancer. We still have a need for Christmas Angels for these families. I’d like to see each kid that’s signed up assigned an angel.

What is the first thing you would tell a newly diagnosed cancer patient?
I’m here for you! Most people don’t want to face it alone, and they will need support from everyone. Let people help you and ask for help. I believe we all want to help — we just don’t always know where and how to start helping someone. I don’t feel burdened at all when asked to help someone out.