This tragedy thrust Kristen Alexander into the cancer world where she made connections and educated herself about the youngest victims.
"Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of kids in the United States," said this Ivoryton woman, mother to 8-year-old Abi. Alexander pledged to make a difference and began working with an organization called The Truth 365, a social media campaign giving small patients a voice.
"The smiling, bald children you see on ads - trying to get you to donate - that’s not the face of childhood cancer," said Alexander, noting that parents are posting stark images that are often painful yet honest and real. "I know lots of people find it hard and want to turn away but once I saw that first little face there was no turning back for me."
She believes childhood cancer is underfunded. According to statistics from The Coalition Against Childhood Cancer - displayed on the TheTruth365.org - 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute's 2014 budget funded childhood cancer research. When contacted for comment, a spokesman for the NCI said those statistics show an "incomplete picture" - that "nearly half the budget" supported "basic research" that is "fundamental to making advances across all areas of cancer research."
Still, Alexander wants more answers.
"There are only three drugs for childhood cancer, so these kids are getting adult chemotherapies and adult treatments and they’re suffering long-term side effects," she said.
The Truth 365 has produced a video and is organizing Curefest on the National Mall in Washington DC in September. The organization recently named Alexander Volunteer of the Year for hosting "Be A Voice" Movie Nights and running a special lemonade stand at a local farmer's market.
"It’s about awareness which will lead to funding which will lead to research which will lead to a cure," she said.
She urges everyone to write Congress and involve the country's youth - to mobilize a nation to protect the future.
"Please just help," says Alexander. "Because these kids really need it and they deserve it."