The nonprofit Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada recently held its Everyday Extraordinary Breakfast to celebrate and honor three Candlelighters kids and families for their courage, resilience and strength, and to recognize four community supporters for their commitment to ensuring Candlelighters beneficiaries receive the help they need. Honorees included the Carvahlo, Duran and Nordstrom families, and The Robert Coomer Group-Celebrity Home Loans, Jeff Helvin, Stage House, and Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada.
“We were thrilled to be able to once again hold our Everyday Extraordinary Breakfast – particularly in person and together since the pandemic – and recognize some amazing families and supporters,” said Kimberly Kindig, CEO of Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada. “This morning was about celebrating every Candlelighters family facing childhood cancer by acknowledging how hard the journey really is, especially this past year, and thanking our tremendous supporters for helping us deliver a variety of emotional support, quality of life, and financial assistance programs.” While everyone was affected by the pandemic, she noted 2020 was particularly tough for Candlelighters families with 21 children passing away.
The Carvahlo family received life-changing news when 16-year-old Mallory was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She has exemplified determination to regain her health and now wants to pursue a career in nursing to help children after experiencing first-hand the difference nurses make. Mallory is also an intern at Cure 4 The Kids and volunteers at Camp Independent Firefly, Candlelighters’ summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings.
The Duran family was recognized for perseverance and positivity throughout their cancer journey which began when 10-month-old Luna was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Now almost five years old, Luna and her family are still an inspiration as they continue to fight the disease.
The Angel Family honoree is the Nordstrom family. Darrian “DD” entered the foster care system when he was 15 months old and quickly won the hearts of his forever family and everyone around him. At age two, he was diagnosed with a rare childhood tumor and courageously battled it for four years. He lost his battle in 2018. The Nordstrom family continues to show strength, courage and love as they honor his memory.
The Robert Coomer Group-Celebrity Home Loans was presented with the Rising Star Award. After participating in the Candlelighters Superhero 5K two years ago, the company’s support has continued to grow, allowing Candlelighters to meet the rising need for mortgage and rental assistance for 24 families experiencing hardship. Additionally, the team hosts toy and gift card drives throughout the year.
Jeff Helvin received the Hero In Action Award for his continued commitment to helping children facing childhood cancer. His work is a tribute to Candlelighters angel, MaKenzie Lynn Hanover, who passed away from brain cancer in 2011 after a nearly year-long battle. Among Helvin’s contributions is forming Team Kenzie for the Superhero 5K to honor MaKenzie’s memory. It is the largest team assembled since the race began 32 years ago with 238 members and has raised more than $50,000 during the last 10 years.
The Community Kindness Award was presented to Stage House for its help activating Candlelighters’ signature events for the past 13 years. It has provided stages, photo backdrops, finish lines and more, with staff often the first to arrive and last to leave. A couple of years ago, Stage House also began helping at Camp Independent Firefly, which means driving to Big Bear, Calif., to set up camp and driving back again for break down when the camp concludes.
Lastly, the Sustaining Impact Award honored Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada for all-around support and positively impacting Candlelighters in every facet of the nonprofit organization and beneficiary families. The company’s participation encompasses leaders serving in key roles on the Candlelighters board, participating as major sponsors at signature events, staff adopting families during the holidays, and more. CCCN continues to exemplify the spirit of community and giving, and made an $10,000 donation during the event.
“Candlelighters has always meant the world to our staff and physicians, and even more so recently as the granddaughter of one of our own benefitted from this great organization’s assistance before succumbing to her cancer,” said Jon Bilstein, CEO of Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, upon accepting the award. “We’re proud and humbled to continue supporting Candlelighters, and are pleased to make a $10,000 donation today.”
The Everyday Extraordinary Breakfast was the Candlelighters first in-person event in more than a year. It was co-hosted by Mark Shunock, in-arena host for the Vegas Golden Knights and Bob
Arum’s Top Rank Boxing and creator and host of Mondays Dark, and 12-year-old Abigail
Coeto-Juarez, a Candlelighters ambassador and childhood cancer survivor. The event was made possible by Southwest Gas, Blue Apple Electric, Cragin & Pike and Palm Mortuary.
About Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada
Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada is the first and oldest nonprofit organization in Nevada serving children, from birth to 21 years old, and families coping with childhood cancer. Its mission is to provide emotional support, quality of life programs, and financial assistance for children and their families affected by childhood cancer. Since its establishment more than 40years ago, Candlelighters has helped thousands of families, and now serves nearly 400 families each month and more than 1,000 children (diagnosed child and sibling combined) per year. For information, visit