Hope for Holland: 5K for Provo child battling brain cancer

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A 5K race called Hope for Holland will be held on April 13 to raise money for a Provo family whose three-year-old is undergoing chemotherapy after having multiple surgeries to remove brain tumors.

Spanish Fork High School students sell and buy silicone wristbands with Holland's name on them to raise money for the Young family. (Photo courtesy Hope for Holland)
Spanish Fork High School students sell and buy silicone wristbands with Holland’s name on them to raise money for the Young family. (Photo courtesy Hope for Holland)

The usually spunky and sassy Holland Young was vomiting multiple times a day, and severe headaches kept her awake at night starting in May 2012. After several pediatrician visits and a hospital visit, an MRI revealed a golf-ball-sized tumor and an equal-sized cyst attached at the back of Holland’s brain.

Bryan and Aleta Young, Holland’s parents, said though this was a difficult time, they learned a lot. While Holland was prepping for surgery, Bryan drove from Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City back to their Provo home to get supplies for their hospital stay. Aleta, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, stayed in the hospital with Holland. Bryan said the first night after the MRI was one of the hardest.

“The drive from Salt Lake City to Provo in the middle of the night, alone with my thoughts, was really tough,” Bryan Young said. “I cried the whole way home. When I got home I couldn’t sleep. I was too upset and angry at God.”

The next morning he went to the Provo Utah Temple.

“I left the temple and headed back to the hospital that day with such great peace that she may die from this, but it didn’t matter because Christ had over come death and she would live again … I now know that if the Lord had healed her … we never would have had the opportunity to share the knowledge of the power of the Atonement with as many as people as we have,” Bryan Young said.

The initial surgery was followed by four more surgeries because fragments of the tumor remained. After the fourth surgery in August, Holland was declared tumor-free. The family’s elation was not to last, however, when Holland’s headaches and vomiting returned in December. Another MRI revealed a new tumor, benign but more volatile and likely to grow back and become malignant.

“This was tough on us as a family,” Bryan Young said, “because we had spent the last four months thinking that everything was done … I felt like all the prayer and faith we and our friends and family had exercised was not being heard, (but) the Lord taught me that our faith had been what had kept her alive and allowed her to recover so well.”

The fifth surgery successfully removed the whole tumor.

Holland now receives monthly chemo treatments and will continue to do so until the end of next year to ensure the tumors do not return.

“It’s really a matter of killing every last tumor cell,” Holland’s mother, Aleta Young, said. “But chemo certainly has its risks … But we’re hopeful that the chemo will wipe out any remaining tumor cells and that she goes on to lead a normal life.”

Although they have health insurance, the family spent about $10,000 on medical bills this year.

“This is quite a bit of money on an educator’s salary,” Bryan Young said. “We were fortunate because we were saving to buy a house soon, and so we had quite a bit saved up. But the costs, even with the insurance, wiped out all of our savings.”

The community has responded to the Young family’s predicament by joining for the upcoming 5K. The Latinos in Action class at Spanish Fork High School heard about Holland from their teacher Nancy Miramontes, a close friend of the Young family. Miramontes said the class was excited to help.

“Every one of my (students) was touched by her story,” she said, “and there was no question that we wanted to find a way to make a real difference for this family.”

To help, the class sold yellow silicone wristbands with Holland’s name on them. The high school students, she said, are buying the wristbands, registering for the race and making donations to the main office.

“The kids at Spanish Fork High School have really joined together to show their support for Holland … It has all been very touching. Teenagers have more power and influence than we often give them credit for,” Miramontes said.

The money from the 5K will help pay for chemo treatments, future medical expenses and the family’s savings so they can look into buying a house again.

“We treat the proceeds of this race like sacred funds,” Bryan Young said. “It’s hard to be the recipient of such generosity when we know that there are so many other people with similar trials, but the Lord has continued to bless our family.”

The 5K will take place Saturday, April 13, at 8 a.m, at Spanish Fork High School. Online registration ends March 31. On-site registration at the high school ends at 7:45 a.m. the day of the race. Early registration is $15 (+ $2 service fee), and day-of is $20.

Online registration will be active from March 8th to March 31st. Online Registration is $15 (+$2 service fee) and includes a shirt.

To make a donation without participating in the run, send one to:

Spanish Fork High School
Attn: Nancy Miramontes – Hope for Holland
99 North 300 West
Spanish Fork, UT
84660

Checks payable to Spanish Fork High School (memo: Hope for Holland). All proceeds go to the Young Family. More information about the race and Holland’s family can be found here.

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