Arianna Van Fleet’s younger brother is only 14, but he knows how to comfort his sister when she has a bad day.
“He already has this inappropriate sense of humor that’s just funny,” Arianna said about Taylor, her brother.
Now it is Arianna’s turn to help her brother. Just last week, Taylor was diagnosed with leukemia, and he is now receiving treatment at a children’s hospital near Denver. Arianna has started fundraisers on Facebook and GoFundMe to help her family during this difficult time.
“It was my natural instinct to step in,” Arianna said. “This was my way to be part of it and not feel helpless.”
She has organized more than half a dozen fundraisers before for other families who have dealt with natural disasters, as well as for veterans dealing with PTSD. So starting one for her own family felt like the natural thing to do, she said.
This fundraiser could help her family with bills that accumulate while her parents care for Taylor, so that they can help their son recover, Arianna said.
“I want them to be able to focus on Taylor,” Arianna said. “I want to be able to make sure that life here in Laramie goes on.”
Taylor’s treatment has already helped, according to a post his father made on CaringBridge, a website that allows people to update their loved ones and their community on medical situations.
“This morning was the first time Taylor smiled in a long time,” his father wrote last Friday. “The staff at Children’s Hospital is amazing. They have been so helpful. We have been too tired and exhausted to think.”
Taylor had been feeling ill for a few weeks, but his condition worsened last Tuesday, Arianna said. She brought him to Ivinson Memorial Hospital, in Laramie, that day. By the end of the next day, her family received the diagnosis, and treatment started within two days.
The Van Fleets have also received some assistance from Jason’s Friends, a Casper-based organization that supports some of the visiting costs for Wyoming families whose children have cancer.
More about Taylor’s story and the family’s fundraiser can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Loved2TheBone.