"When I think of Nick, I think of Christmas--he loved Christmas so much," said Ashley Peters, a Texas A&M University senior. Peters lost her younger brother Nick to leukemia last year, when Nick was just a teenager.
"Before he passed away, we decided we would celebrate Christmas early because he passed in October," said Peters.
Nick Peters had been diagnosed with cancer three times in less than a decade. The final time, Ashley Peters donated bone marrow to her brother to aid his recovery.
"The transplant worked; the doctors said he was doing so well that he could maybe go home early," Peters said. "But then he got an infection."
That infection and the leukemia may have ended Nick's life, but it didn't end his impact.
"He was so selfless," said Peters. "When I was upset because he was sick, he was worried about me instead of himself."
Now, Peters honors her brother's memory with a mission of her own. She raises funds and donations for His Grace Foundation, the same non-profit that funded her brother's bone marrow transplant.
Peters also encourages others to "Go gold in September," for childhood cancer awareness.
"Forty-six kids are diagnosed everyday, and seven lives are lost," said Peters. "And these are children. They're entirely innocent."
Alesia Whaley agrees. She works with Adam's Angels Ministry out of Brenham, a non-profit founded in honor of Adam Culliver, a boy who died at four years old just a week after his cancer diagnosis.
"It can take them so quickly," said Whaley.
Adam's Angels helps provide financial support to families in the area who are dealing with a childhood cancer case.
"It's the gas money, the electric bill, food--usually one parent has to give up their job to take care of the child," Whaley said.
Both Whaley and Peters say, it's time that Childhood Cancer Awareness Month became a household term--for Nick, for Adam, and for every child who suffers through or passes away from cancer.
"It's difficult now that we're coming up on a year without him," said Peters. "But I talk about him all the time, and I don't plan on stopping."
If you'd like to learn more or donate to His Grace Foundation or Adam's Angels Ministry, see the Related Links.