A diagnosis of cancer for a child can be devastating news for any family, but one organization called Concrete Cares is dedicated to lessening the burden of a cancer diagnosis so families can focus on supporting their loved ones fighting the disease.
Mike Murray, who handles marketing and promotions for Concrete Cares, said the group is a non-profit that takes the fight against cancer to the local level.
"Kids can't fight cancer alone and concrete cares," Murray said.
At this year's World of Concrete, Concrete Cares will be awarding $3,000 in scholarships to students in the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program at Middle Tennessee State University. The scholarships will be awarded at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, at the CIM booth on the show floor.
“We felt World of Concrete was a really fitting place to do it,” said Mike Murray, who handles marketing and promotions for Concrete Cares.
Murray said the scholarships are being awarded in honor of two individuals that inspired the organization’s membership to make a difference.
Murray said one of the scholarships, amounting to $2,000, is being awarded in honor of Tyler Charlton, who was two-years-old when he passed away in October after a fierce battle against cancer.
“Twice the doctors said he had no hope,” Murray said. “But he kept fighting.”
Through his struggle, Tyler earned the nickname “Captain Concrete” as he continued his battle against cancer.
Murray said people in the construction industry sent Tyler construction toys, and Concrete Cares took care of rent and car payments for Tyler’s family for about a year and a half. When Tyler passed away in October, Concrete Cares also helped cover the cost of the his funeral.
Tyler was 28 months old when he passed away. Since his passing, Concrete Cares has helped provide support for three other funerals of children.
A second scholarship, amounting to $1,000, will be awarded in honor of Alex Mendiola, the son of the organization’s secretary and treasurer who passed away in a car accident.
Murray said Mendiola served as an inspiration to the entire organization.
“Alex helped us with many events and always had a soft spot for children with cancer in his heart, including using his birthday to help other kids,” Murray said.
Murray said the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt fundraising for Concrete Cares. Despite the challenges, he said the organization still tries to follow through on their mission statement to make a difference in communities by enabling friends, relatives and families to join the fight to provide support for those stricken with cancer.
According to their website, Concrete Cares is active in 12 states across the country, including Nevada, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, South Carolina, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, South Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Individuals can help contribute to Concrete Cares’ mission of “fighting cancer one yard at a time” by signing up to make a recurring monthly donation of 5 dollars at the organization’s website.
Along with covering critical payments for families fighting cancer, Concrete Cares also provides support with transportation, housing for treatments, food, clothing and daycare costs.