Campbell County family uses personal journey to help others battle cancer

The Norman family got global attention last year for their son's Christmas wish. Now they're trying to help other families in the same situation.

POSTED: 04:06 AM EST Dec 24, 2013    UPDATED: 08:29 AM EDT Aug 24, 2013 
Nathan Norman

Taking a child to a cancer center for treatment can be overwhelming for parents.

"We understand," said Dawn Norman. "We know how hard it is."

Norman has been in and out of hospitals constantly for almost five years. Her six-year-old son, Nathan, is battling tumors in his brain and spinal cord.

There's been so many times where she and her husband Bobby could have lost hope, but they never have and she says they never will.

"We want to be able to show that same hope that we have, which is in Jesus Christ," Norman said.

Inspired by her faith, and a desire to support families going through the same struggle she's facing, Norman has started a non-profit called "Hope for Tomorrow."

"One of the things Bobby and I always wanted to do was start a support group, because we knew there were other families in the area," Norman said.

Hope for Tomorrow provides counseling for families and patients. The Normans personally deliver care packages year-round to different hospitals.

The organization is also raising money for pediatric cancer research, which doesn't get a lot of federal funding.

"Of the five billion dollars that the United States government gives to the national cancer institute, only four percent of that goes to pediatric cancer research," Norman said, adding that she believes funding will make a huge difference.

"20 years ago if you were diagnosed with breast cancer, it was a death sentence," said Norman. "Now you have a 90 percent survival rate, thanks to research and funding."

You may wonder where the Normans get their energy. Nathan is still taking cancer treatments that require regular trips to North Carolina.

In spite of her own commitments, Dawn Norman says her heart compels her to serve others.

"God comforts us so that we can turn around and comfort others going through the same thing," said Norman. "Nathan's journey can not be in vain, so if we can help one other family, or 1,000 other families, it will all have been worth it."

Hope for Tomorrow will be having a big fundraiser at Peaksview Park in Lynchburg September 7.  It's a 5K race and walk.

There will also be a bone marrow drive where people can join a national bone marrow registry for future donations.

Click here to learn more about the organization.