BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Spend any time talking with the parents of critically or chronically ill children, and at some point they’ll tell you how their hearts would be healed if, just for a day or even a few hours, their kid could have a few carefree moments where their condition is not front and center.

Mike Schuh takes us on just such a journey.

For half of her life, Audreanna has been fighting to keep it.

“My daughter has neuroblastomas,” said Angela Bartok.

Now six, she was cancer-free to 10 months but the tumor is back. Success with experimental drugs brings an unsteady truce but on the horizon, it doesn’t look good.

“They don’t get to do fun things. It’s always medicine, radiation, chemotherapy, stem cell transplants–all that kind of stuff and they don’t get to do fun things,” Bartok said.

That’s why this day is so important.

“It lets her be a kid,” Bartok said.

A pirate ship cruises the high seas of the Inner Harbor. The Casey Cares Foundation is trying to give these kids–all with serious illnesses–a normal fun day.

“You see the joy on the kids’ faces and you actually see Mom and Dad smile, which may sound so little and minor but when your child is diagnosed with a critical illness, it affects the entire family,” said Casey Baynes.

Is it working? Audreanna is too shy to say but her mom is so grateful.

“This is a good day. This is a great day, yeah,” Bartok said.

The Casey Cares Foundation is a local nonprofit organization which relies on donations to help kids in the Mid-Atlantic area.


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