Louisville company donates to families dealing with childhood cancer


by Chelsea Rabideau


Posted on June 25, 2014 at 11:31 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 26 at 10:01 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Louisville company has donated their product to Kosair Children’s Hospital. 

It’s not at all uncommon, but we’re taking a closer look at the impact that donation makes on families in the struggle of their lives. 
When a child is fighting cancer, it’s a battle for the whole family. Everything else takes a back seat. The simplest things, like finding time and money for that matter, and eating become monumental tasks. They depend on companies like Louisville’s Rooibee Red Tea to make those tasks a little bit easier. 
James Frazier and his family have become staples in the hallways of the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center at Kosair Children’s Hospital. Frazier puts on a brave face, but spending months in the hospital is taking its toll on his family. 
“Me and my wife might see each other passing through the hallways. It’s very rough,” he explained. 
Their daughter Kirsten is battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
“The first time we was in, we was in for 8 months,” he said, “We’ve been in for over a month and a half. She just went through a bone marrow transplant.”
The hospital tries to bring pieces of home here. They rely on donations to help care for the families of the children they treat. 
“It’s actually awesome. Because you don’t have to go out and spend money that you don’t have,” Frazier said.
Rooibee Red Tea C-Tea-O Heather Howell saw the opportunity to do something. The Louisville company created Rooibee Roo, a healthier alternative to sugary sodas and juices, just for kids.
“I really wanted to give back to those who just need to lift their spirit,” said Howell. 
The company donated 1200 bottles of Rooibee Roo to Kosair Children’s Hospital, which has adopted a policy to remove all high sugar drinks, leaving few options for families with children basically living in the cancer center. 
“This was just a great opportunity to have a donated item that parents aren’t having to pay for and available to them while they’re here and their children are being cared for,” Leslie Smart explained, the Executive Director of Philanthropy for Kosair Children’s Hospital. 
Howell loves the relationship they have built with Kosair and loves how her product is helping those in need. 
“I just felt like, looking at the relationship that we have, and then looking at Kosair, I couldn’t think of a better place for our particular brand to land,” Howell said. 
Kirsten is in isolation in the cancer center, healing from her bone marrow transplant. Her father stays by her side, missing work, missing the rest of the family. 
“It’s actually very frustrating at times,” he said, “It feels like you’re living two different lives.” 
But, it’s the kindness of strangers that makes a terrible time even a little bit easier to handle. 
“It’s very nice that people do care,” he said. 
Rooibee Roo is also for sale online and in stores. 
What are you doing to help improve your community? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter by using #DoSomething. You can also send an email to dosomething@whas11.com.