Jason Knowles, the father of Zion Knowles, cuts a miracle treat day cake watched by Dairy Queen operation manager Crystal Campbell, left, and human resources director Deon Dunbar, right.
By KORTNEY RODGERS
THE Dairy Queen restaurant franchise yesterday announced the launch of its first annual Miracle Treat Day, an initiative to help sick children in the Bahamas. The event, which is held every year in the United States and Canada, will take place on August 14.
Dairy Queen will donate $2 from every Blizzard Treat sold on that day to children suffering from illnesses such as cancer and sickle cell disease.
The first recipient of help, Zion Knowles, was diagnosed with leukemia aged four in June 2012. Her father, Jason Knowles, said that the family has been appealing for donations from corporate and private entities since Zion’s insurance was exhausted within the first eight months of treatment.
Zion, now six, is currently receiving post bone marrow transplant treatment abroad after experiencing a relapse in May 2013. Her medication alone, Mr Knowles said, cost about $5,000 per month.
“She needs this medicine to survive, so initiatives like this help Zion survive,” Mr Knowles said. “It helps the financial burden and gives us a chance to focus on other areas to help keep the family together.”
As a 13-year cancer survivor, Melissa Major, president of Freedom Survivors Young Adult and Kids Support Group (Cancer Society), provided some insight to the financial and emotional burden families must bear.
“Cancer treatment is very, very expensive and then there’s the after care. We have to do everything we possibly can to help alleviate the stress,” said Ms Major.
Oncologist for children with cancer, Dr Sinquee Brown, told The Tribune that recipients of the funds are chosen based on need and the availability of local resources.
“Most of the patients that I see with cancer don’t have insurance, which means the majority of work comes from the public sector. Can you imagine limited funds, no insurance, costly drugs, and costly treatment? Any help that they can get, in addition to what the government provides, is a benefit,” Dr Brown said.
Dairy Queen is inviting corporate Bahamas to join in the initiative by utilising its pre-order form to place large orders in advance for Blizzard Treats on August 14th. Human Resources and Marketing Director, Deon Dunbar, said the company’s goal is to sell at least 3,000 Blizzard Treats on Miracle Treat Day.