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Community Rallies Around CT Family After Newborn Son's Cancer Diagnosis

Days after Brendan and Karen Filburn gave birth to their second son Brody, they received the news no parents ever deserve: their seemingly happy newborn has an aggressive form of cancer. Sixteen days after Brody was born, he began his first round of chemotherapy. 

Friends and fellow veterans are raising money for the Filburn family after their newborn son Brody was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
Friends and fellow veterans are raising money for the Filburn family after their newborn son Brody was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Photo Credit: GoFundMe

But the Filburns aren't facing this alone. Friends and family of the Hartford County couple, who live in the town of Simsbury, have created a GoFundMe to help provide for them while they give Brody their full attention. 

So far, the campaign has raised more than $5,200 of its $7,000 goal. 

Hartford County resident Rob Burke, of Glastonbury, who serves as a Technical Sergeant in the Air Force reserves in Western Massachusetts at a base in Chicopee, along with Master Sgt. Brendan Filburn, started the fundraiser. He said he felt compelled to help out because "there are no more deserving people" than the Filburns. 

Burke, who had a son three months before Brody was born, said he nearly broke down when Brendan told him doctors diagnosed Brody with an extrarenal rhabdoid tumor. 

But he's been thrilled to see the outpouring of care for the family. The Filburns have helped out countless friends in the past, Burke said, and he's happy to see others repaying the favor. 

"The community has been great, and I think it’s vital they know they have so many people that are thinking about them," Burke said. "I can’t begin to imagine the anxiety and stress they have been faced with and it’s important for them to know they are not alone in this." 

Burke said the money raised will allow Karen to stay with Brody full-time as the newborn goes through the worst of chemotherapy. She would have to return to nursing when the FMLA benefits end. 

"I believe the last thing this family should have to worry about is how they are financially going to make it through this," Burke said. 

Burke asks anyone who can't give to the fundraiser to keep the Filburns in your thoughts and prayers. 

"They deserve it," he said. "... They're a very lovely and kind family."

Click here to see the GoFundMe campaign. 

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