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Wagon Warriors are collecting items to help kids fight cancer

Wagon Warriors is a campaign to collect items for kids who are in the hospital fighting cancer. The wagons were designed by local students.

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- This is the second year for the Wagon Warrior Campaign to benefit children with cancer. Local schools decorated wagons and they will be used as a "Drive" for Colton's Cure to collect items for children going through cancer treatment and to fundraise for the American Cancer Society. Shannon Thompson of the American Cancer Society, Ashley Bloom of Associated Bank and cancer survivor Forest VandenLangenberg joined Rachel Manek on Good Day Wisconsin to explain how the campaign works.

There are two ways to support the Wagon Warriors Campaign. Vote for your favorite wagon by going to the school's fundraising page and making a monetary donation. https://www.crowdrise.com/wagonwarriors2018 The schools who raise the most money will receive a grant from Associated Bank. The money raised will fund childhood cancer research through the American Cancer Society.

You can also visit a local Associated Bank branch and help fill the wagons with items from the "Colton's Cure" wish list. The wagons will then be donated to a hospital or a family affected by childhood cancer.

Wish List:

*Tie blankets

*Pillow case

*Gas Cards

*Coloring books

*iTunes gift cards

*Notebooks

*Super hero costumes

*Grocery stores gift cards

*Coloring books, crayons and markers

*Toys

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Forest's story:

In May of 2017, Forest VandenLangenberg was a typical 5th Grade, 11-year-old boy who attended McAuliffe Elementary School. He loved being outside, riding his bike, playing baseball & football, fishing, hunting and spending time in the woods. Although he felt well, his family noticed lumps in his neck and under his arms. After getting them checked out at the doctor, his blood work showed Forest had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) which is a cancer in bone marrow. He started his cancer journey at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, then shortly after, transferred his care to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Green Bay. He has spent countless hours in the hospital over the past year, receiving chemo several times in a week, at times. He has had to endure many lumbar punctures (spinal taps), CT Scans, X-Rays, MRI’s, Echocardiograms, and countless needle pokes and port accessing. Many blood products have been needed to keep him going during this time of extensive treatment. To date, he has needed 26 Red Blood Transfusions and 11 Platelet Transfusions. Because of his compromised immune system, Forest has not been able to attend school at Edison Middle School yet this year. Fortunately, he can attend class virtually through his laptop with Google Hangouts, so he can communicate with his teachers and classmates. He also has a homebound teacher that spends a few hours a week with him to make sure he is staying on track with his classes. The good news for Forest is, he is now getting very close to the final phase of treatment called Maintenance. The amount of support and love that Forest’s family received from McAuliffe, their friends, family, and community was a huge part of their cancer and recovering story. Stories like this put a known face to the word CANCER. We want to inspire kids to continue to fight through the tough times and to stay strong. The cancer journey takes you through many ups and downs but the constant is that there is a team fighting the fight every day and supporting families going through this very difficult time. Bob Marley said it best, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” We hope the children who travel in the Packer wagon will be inspired to stay strong and fight through the tough times. There is always a team cheering you on and giving you strength and encouragement every step of the way through the cancer journey.

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