In October of last year, 10-year-old Olivia Parker was diagnosed with stage 4 Glioblastoma.
But since her battle began, she’s had an entire neighborhood turning on their support.
Neighbors Start Lights
“Well it really came from Olivia and knowing that her favorite color was red and all the treatment she was going through,” said Sean Flynn, a neighbor of the Parkers. “And it was around Christmas time, and right before that we said ‘hey what if everybody put red lights up? That way when she was going to and from all of her treatments she could actually see her favorite color and hopefully put her in a better mindset.’”
Through an anonymous donation, the Flynns were able to get hundreds of red light bulbs and hand them out throughout the Brook Crossings Estates neighborhood.
“We’ve always been a pretty close-nit neighborhood,” added Suzanne Flynn. “But when something happens to one of our own, everybody kind of steps up and does what they can do.”
For the Parkers, that community support brought some needed brightness into their lives.
“It was just amazing to see all the red lights,” said Olivia’s mom AnnaMaria. “Driving down the street I use to cry every single time. And not because it made me sad, it was just because it was so overwhelming.”
But it’s not just the lights that have helped.
Olivia’s friends have contributed to helping fight pediatric cancer, donating to Lurie’s Children’s Hospital where she’s being treated.
T-shirts and other fundraisers have been held for the family, with a few extra gifts along the way.
“I’ve gotten so many stuffed animals! It’s amazing,” said Olivia.
Learning & Advocating
But the past year has taught the Parkers a lot.
Olivia learned that only 4% of federal funding goes toward pediatric cancer. It made her so upset, that now she’s motivated to take on her last round of chemotherapy and get ready to go advocate.
“We’ve talked about going to Springfield for that. Probably some discussions about D.C. at some point,” said Olivia’s dad Scott.
“These kids are looking at this and going ‘we deserve better!’ So I think that’s another hope from a whole other level of the red lights and anything that we can do to start that conversation,” added AnnaMaria.
And through it all, the 11-year-old hasn’t lost her sense of humor.
Putting a hard fight in a good light.
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
Get daily hometown news and sports delivered to your inbox!Sign Up Today!