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Tornadoes kill 5 and injure dozens in Iowa; coalition presses lawmakers to put climate bond on CA November ballot; More residential care coming for children with acute mental health needs; and ND again ranks high for workplace danger.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Keeping Childhood Cancer from Crushing a Family's Budget

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Friday, December 9, 2022   

As Americans make end-of-year donations to their favorite causes, those that help children with cancer and their families say these households need support in difficult situations. A Minnesota-based group says inflation underscores the need.

The Pinky Swear Foundation has grown into a national philanthropic organization that will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. The group's marketing manager, Jake Leif, said it's important that people also support cancer research and medical-debt initiatives, but groups such as his fill in the gaps in areas that might not receive as much attention when a family goes through this type of journey.

"When the child has cancer, life carries on," he said, "and so [there's] a lot of gas and grocery bills, rent, mortgages, car payments."

Leif said it makes it harder when a parent has to pause working, and the total cost of a child's cancer journey can exceed $800,000. He added that inflation has affected everyone's wallets this year, and these families are no exception. Support from the foundation, including individual donations, is designed to remove the pressure of those daily expenses.

While platforms such as GoFundMe are another good tool, Leif said they can only do so much when a situation quickly overwhelms a family's finances.

"We hear from families all the time that they had a beautiful nest egg, they had a healthy, healthy savings account," he said, "and childhood cancer came through and just blew it down."

The organization also will observe national Pinky Swear Day on Sunday. That proclamation originated from action in 2014 by then-Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. It reflects how the group was inspired when a 9-year-old boy named Mitch, who was diagnosed with cancer, gave his savings to families on the pediatric oncology floor where he was receiving treatment. Before his death, he asked his father to promise to carry out this mission moving forward.


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