Community surpasses funding needs for child with leukemia

Through the efforts of the local community, a Kyle area family received funds needed to help their child battle a form of childhood Leukemia.

On Sunday, hundreds took to Buck’s Backyard in the Buda area for the Emma Strong benefit. The benefit was held to assist the family of Emma Henke, who was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lyphoblastic Leukemia when she was three years old.

Henke was diagnosed during a routine doctor’s visit for what seemed to be a normal fever.

B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which is the most common cancer to plague children, affects only 1 in 500 children, according to Saint Jude’s Children Research Hospital. Emma’s diagnosis hit hard for her parents, Amanda and Jason Henke, who are Hays CISD educators who had just given birth to twin boys.

Emma was excitedly preparing for preschool at Santa Cruz Catholic School in Buda when she was diagnosed June 2018.

It was through Hays CISD that Jason and Amanda Henke received a sturdy foundation of support.

District parents, teachers and friends began planning fundraising efforts for Emma’s recovery as soon as they heard the news, leading up to the benefit.

More than 200 people showed up to support Emma, donate money and party while Emma watched on and spent time with family members.

“So many people have been involved,” Amanda said. “Most of them were nearly strangers when they offered to support our family and Emma’s recovery.”

Amanda said she and her family have more than enough support, citing the many fundraisers preceding Emma’s benefit.

“Everything is paid for between insurance and all the fundraisers,” Amanda said. “We’ve far surpassed what we need, and Emma will be covered going forward just fine.”

Emma has a year and a half left of chemotherapy, which keeps her out of school some days. Her parents say Emma’s worst days are the days she has to go in for treatment. But despite her anxieties, she loves school and keeps her spirits up the other days.

When she’s not getting treatment, Emma spends her days playing with her classmates, dancing around her living room and loving on her little brothers. Emma’s parents are confident of her recovery and say they are grateful for her resilient spirit.

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