Lance White is a typical teenager. He loves sports, video games and rock ‘n roll. What is not typical about Lance is his extraordinary passion to help others.
In September 2014, Lance was thirteen, healthy, bright and playing football for his middle school in Cedar Park. Shortly after the school year began, his family took him to an urgent care center for what seemed like a stomach flu or internal injury from a football hit. The next day the family received shocking news at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. Lance had T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
He began a year of intensive cancer treatment, followed by two years of maintenance therapy. It was devastating news for the teen and his family, but a caring Cedar Park community—including middle and high schools teachers and families, football players and coaches, friends, neighbors and acquaintances—rallied around the White family.
“Cancer treatment is painful, scary and lonely, and sometimes staying hopeful gets tough,” says Lance, “But seeing people come together to help just one person has been a good thing to come out of this.”
Lance spent many days hospitalized or receiving treatments at Dell Children’s and was immediately drawn to the cries of toddlers and babies as they struggled through cancer treatments. “Many times instead of choosing to hang out in the teen infusion area, Lance would sit with the little kids and start conversations with them,” says his mom, Priscilla.
These moments touched Lance in a way that would change his life.
NEVER LOSE HOPE
When Lance had the opportunity to dream big through Make-A-Wish, he knew exactly what he wanted. Instead of meeting a celebrity or going on the trip of a lifetime, he chose to start his own foundation – one that would help kids with cancer. Thus began the Lift Brigade, his new foundation to support pediatric cancer patients and their families when they need a lift.
“Lance’s wish is extremely unique,” says Cindy Fitchpatrick, CBCC psychosocial program coordinator. “I’ve been in this field for 26 years and this was the first time a patient requested his wish to be for the other children and teens in the clinic. His wish will definitely be a gift to many children and teens who are also affected by cancer.”
The White family looks forward to the end of treatment in December 2017. In his lifetime, Lance hopes to be successful, live a good life, and be happy. As founder and executive director of Lift Brigade, he is already living his dream. In May 2016, more than 400 supporters attended the launch of Lift Brigade during a public celebration in Cedar Park.
“There’s no doubt Lance will be surrounded by those he has lifted up through the joyful work of his new foundation,” says Jill Skinner, Chief Communication Officer at Make-a-Wish.