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IN HOLDEN'S MEMORY PARENTS HELPING KIDS LIKE THEIR SON.

Byline: Susan Abram Staff Writer

GLENDALE - He was a little boy with a rhythmic-sounding name who left behind a trainload of memories.

He liked to paint with watercolors, and he liked the yellow Teletubby, Laa-Laa. He liked to sing the song that asks the rain to go away and come again another day, and he liked to wave his arms to music as he danced.

But most of all, Holden Kai Halili Bikichky liked to ride the train at Travel Town, the one with the word ``Courage'' painted on its side, that chugs over wooden bridges and around the pony rides at Griffith Park.

``He would always want to come here after we left Childrens Hospital,'' said Holden's grandmother, Carmen Halili, during a recent visit to Travel Town. ``We brought him here for the last time two days before he died.''

Holden was just 2 when he died in May of hepatoblastoma, a rare childhood liver cancer.

In their son's memory, his parents, Caroline Halili and Andrew Bikichky of Glendale, have established Holden's Hope Train, to raise awareness about hepatoblastoma and help other parents, who like them, will spend many hours at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

His parents hope to raise about $12,000 through an Internet auction on eBay, planned Nov. 14-23. Proceeds will help buy laptop computers to be used by patients and their families who visit the cancer and blood disease units at Childrens Hospital.

Items up for sale include tickets to Southern California theme parks and gift certificates to spas and restaurants. Closer to the auction, bidders can sign onto eBay.com, look under the categories listing and find Holden's Hope Train under charities and live auctions.

``Part of it is to raise awareness of childhood cancer,'' Halili said. ``Many people don't know much about it.''

Holden had been diagnosed with cancer just after Sept. 11, 2001, his parents said.

``We were sitting in the radiology unit, watching those planes hit the towers, and we thought nothing could be as bad as that,'' Halili said. ``We couldn't even cry when we found out about Holden because we had already cried for the whole world.''

According to the National Childrens Cancer Foundation, hepatoblastoma makes up less than 1 percent of all childhood cancer cases. It usually occurs in boys and 90 percent of the time in children 5 years old or younger. An estimated 67 percent of children are treated successfully, and the survival rate is high, with chemotherapy used in most cases.

But because the disease is rare and relatively curable, there are few studies or research conducted on it, Halili said.

One way Halili and Bikichky learned about hepatoblastoma was through the Internet. They found support through Web sites and contacted other families with children suffering from it.

Parents who visit Childrens Hospital will be able to request a laptop computer from the nurses' station and surf the Web for information.

``Childrens Hospital is blessed to have many generous and thoughtful friends and donors,'' said Claudia Looney, senior vice president for development at the hospital.

``Oftentimes those friends and donors are grateful families who know firsthand how crucial our patient care programs are,'' Looney said. ``We are very grateful that Caroline and Andrew have chosen to assist us in this special way, and in doing so have joined with others to lend their support to help our critically sick and injured children.''

If the auction goes well, the couple also hopes to establish other programs at the hospital, including free family portraits and maybe even a way to help parents pay for long-term parking.

It's also their way of thanking the hospital and staff ``of angels'' for taking care of Holden, they said.

``We just want to add to the quality of life for the other parents,'' Bikichky said. ``We're not spending our energy fighting for Holden any more, so we'd rather spend that energy helping someone else.''

Susan Abram, (818) 546-3304

susan.abram(at)dailynews.com

HOW TO HELP

--A fund has been created in memory of Holden Kai Halili Bikichky to raise money for computers at Childrens Hospital and for research for hepatoblastoma. Send checks to: Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Attn: Bethany Taylor, 4650 Sunset Blvd., MS29, Los Angeles, CA 90027.

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Photo:

Caroline Halili and Andrew Bikichky holds a photo of their son, Holden, near a train ride, his favorite, at Travel Town in Griffith Park. Holden died three months ago from a rare form of cancer, spurring the couple to form a charity to help other victims at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer

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HOW TO HELP (see text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 14, 2003
Words:774
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