Brain cancer survivors celebrate the holidays by paying it forward to others with the disease

Posted at 5:23 PM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 17:23:17-05

The holidays can be tough enough, but it's even harder for families dealing with a life threatening illness.

Brain cancer survivors from Henry Ford Hospital are paying it forward with 25 days of Christmas.

Nestelynn Gay is a survivor.

"You realize how blessed you've been, so you want to turn it around and do something for someone else," she said.

This group of brain cancer survivors from Henry Ford Hospital don't take special moments for granted, which is why every holiday season they pay it forward.

The group picks a patient going through treatment and they give that person and their family 25 days of Christmas. They've been doing this for a few years.

They pick a family who could use some holiday joy and surprise them with 25 gifts, one to open every day until Christmas.

Dominic Cardillo was a recipient in 2014 and now he is one of the folks bringing some cheer.

"Very tough year, probably one of the hardest years of my life and it made it better, easier to deal with," he explained.

They are all part of a Facebook group of people who've dealt with brain cancer.

This year they picked a father of four young kids from Indiana, after learning the struggles the family is going through this season. The man has an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Nestelynn said, "He is still going through treatment and he is actually having some good results."

Nestelynn traveled to Indiana to surprise them with presents, all paid for by the survivors.

"We had a wrapping party and wrapped all the gifts and labeled them Day one, day two," she said. "It was really fun to see. To see the kids get so excited."

Dominic added, "Even in the darkest of times there's still some light and there is still some people that care about you."

The group of brain cancer survivors say it's important to support each other and help those going through what they did, which is why they will continue to do this random act of kindness.