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Special Kids at the Round-Up

Red Bluff rodeo provides fun time for kids with serious illnesses

A group of Wings of Angels kids gather for a group photo at the Red Bluff Round-Up. The kids and their families enjoy away from the cares of their illnesses and hospitals. Photo courtesy Donna Araiza.

Red Bluff, Calif. (May 29, 2018) – A special group of kids gathered at the Red Bluff (Calif.) Round-Up last month.

Twelve children, all fighting cancer and other serious illnesses, and their parents and siblings, came to the Round-Up for a day to forget they had cancer.

They enjoyed a cook-out and got to watch the rodeo.

They are part of the Wings of Angels group, a non-profit organization based in Redding, Calif., that provides financial help for the families as their kids go through cancer treatment.

Wings of Angels was founded by Dan and Donna Araiza in 2002. Since then, it has given over $1.2 million to more than 200 families, in the form of fuel and grocery cards, by paying rent and utility bills and fixing cars.

The Araizas realized the need for a program like this after their nine-year-old daughter died from cancer in 2001. “We were in the hospital (with their daughter) in San Francisco six out of the last fourteen months of her life,” Donna said. “We realized so many other families are struggling with day-to-day expenses.” Insurance covers medical needs, Donna said, but doesn’t cover other needs that might go unmet, because a parent isn’t working or is working less because of caring for the child.

A young boy stands next to his friend, bull rider Colby Demo. The boy, a part of the Wings of Angels group, enjoyed the Red Bluff Round-Up in 2016. Photo courtesy Donna Araiza.

Coming to the Round-Up is a great experience for the families, Donna said. “It’s a great opportunity for families to be together as a group. They’re not in a hospital setting. It’s a day to get away and have fun with other kids who are going through what you’re going through.”

This is the second year the Round-Up has donated tickets to the Wings of Angels kids and their families. Proceeds from a silent auction held during the Round-Up’s volunteer banquet on April 14 were donated towards the organization. More than $2250 was raised.

The 2019 Red Bluff Round-Up will be held April 19-21. More information on Wings of Angels can be found at www.aawoa.com. Information on the Round-Up is at www.RedBluffRoundUp.com.