BYU coach Steve Cleveland and Santa Claus were just two of the many people who came to Tuesday's Christmas Party for families who have children with cancer.
PROVO, UTAH -- Thanks to the efforts of the BYU basketball programs and the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation, 82 local cancer-inflicted families were able to get together for a big party Tuesday evening.
The basketball teams worked with the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation to host a Christmas Party for local families who have children with cancer. Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to providing assistance for children with cancer and their families.
"We all genuinely love being involved and trying to bring some more Christmas cheer to these courageous young children and their families," BYU men's coach Steve Cleveland said. "These kids and their parents and siblings are a real inspiration."
At the party, the children with cancer and their siblings were able to play games, have posters autographed by the men's and women's players, enjoy good food, and visit with Cosmo -- BYU's mascot -- and, of course, with Santa Claus. The children all received several gifts and the Pizza Factory provides food for all in attendance. Including volunteers and organizers, some 500 people participated in this year's party.
"This has been a very rewarding experience for me and for the young men on the team," said Cleveland, who has been involved with Foundation the past six years. "This helps give our players some perspective, to see that there is much more than basketball. It is a good opportunity to serve others. The Foundation is working hard to help all the families it can. Seeing these kids smile and enjoy themselves at the party is a nice feeling for everyone involved, especially considering all these families go through on a daily basis."
Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation provides assistance in a number of ways, but primarily through the collection and distribution of gifts to children with cancer and their families during the Christmas holiday season. For the past six years, the Foundation has collected toys and then distributed them to these special children and to their families at a Christmas party.
In addition to Cleveland serving as the Foundation's honorary chairman, his wife Kip has been actively involved as a committee member, and Cheryl Rose, wife of BYU Associate Head Coach Dave Rose, is the Foundation's vice chairman. Many others volunteered their time and assistance. The Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation was founded by Mac Boyter, an adult cancer survivor, whose heart was touched by the plight of children undergoing treatment for cancer.
"We hope this event provides the families with the opportunity to forget about their troubles for an evening," Cheryl Rose said. "It's also nice for these families to come together and get to know others who are going through similar experiences. We appreciate the support from the community, people donating gifts and money, businesses donating food and other items. It takes a lot of people working hard to make this a first-class evening for these families."