Del. family turns grief into hope for young adults battling cancer

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- Unfortunately the Tibbetts family knows first-hand what goes into caring for a loved one battling cancer.

They've started a foundation to help build a bridge to recovery, something their daughter Paige would be proud of.

Paige's encounter with cancer came as a complete shock.

4 years ago, Barbara and Douglas Tibbetts' daughter Paige, just 28 years old, was diagnosed with stage 4, advanced small cell lung cancer.

"The last thing you expect for a high energy, healthy young woman is to be diagnosed with lung cancer, particularly one who never smoked, who had a healthy lifestyle," says her father Douglas.

The family rallied around her, always by her side for treatments, to pick medication, make meals and appointments.

"She thanked us all the time, for everyone's love and support," recalls Barbara Tibbetts.

But her mom says Paige also recognized not everyone has that support.

Social workers Greg Garber and Lora Rhodes say young adult cancer patients face unique challenges...

"They may be newly launched, living on their own for the first time, newly married, might have young kids," says Lora.

And that's where the Paige S. Tibbetts Legacy Fund comes in to help at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

After Paige lost her battle, her parents set up the foundation to help bridge the gap, so "no one has to fight cancer alone."

That phrase has become the motto and mission of the foundation.

"It started with living expenses, transportation, groceries," says Douglas.

"We bought a young woman a laptop computer so she could continue her studies while she was going through treatment," adds Barbara.

"That's what's so important to be able to say to someone there is this family out there that understands how hard this is. We're able to take away at least some of this financial burden so you can kind of focus on you, and on getting well," says Lora Rhodes.

"Everything we do is consistent with what Paige would be proud of," says Douglas.

To learn more about the Paige S. Tibbetts Legacy Fund, click here.
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