Act of kindness leads to cancer fundraiser for Columbia family

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FULTON - Through an exchange in the Columbia Mothers of Multiples Facebook group, Katie Hanney gave and delivered a nursing pillow to Lea Wood for free. Months later, Wood organized a fundraiser for Katie and the Hanney family, because Katie's 2-year-old daughter Ellie is undergoing treatment for a cancerous brain tumor in St. Louis.

The Hanney family lives in Columbia and goes back and forth between mid-Missouri and St. Louis. The family is paying to live in both cities while Ellie undergoes radiation therapy. Wood wanted to help cover the cost.

“It feels really great to be doing a fundraiser for someone who’s helped us so much when we were first learning how to be parents of twins," Wood said.

Serenity Valley Winery held the fundraiser Sunday. Wood planned many activities, from pet and people costume contests to pumpkin carving and painting. Ellie did not attend because of her treatment, but Katie came and was overwhelmed by the support. 

"We have been shown... amazing amounts of support from people that we know, people that we don't know, family, friends. It's just amazing to see what good can come out of such a crummy situation," Katie said.

Katie was mostly thankful to Wood. 

"She's not a stranger anymore. There are certain people you don't really need to spend very much time with to know the kind of person that they are," Katie said. "I will forever be grateful. She didn't have to do this, but she did."

This isn't the first time cancer struck the Hanney family. Katie is also a breast cancer survivor. Ellie was diagnosed not even a full year after Katie finished treatment. 

"I thought that was a big deal, but that's nothing compared to what Ellie's going through," Katie said. 

Katie said her family is moving forward one day at a time. 

"One foot in front of the other. We'll get through it in the end."

Anyone interested in supporting the Hanney family can donate to their GoFundMe