North Pole Breakfast Fundraiser supports infant fighting cancer

On Aug. 26, the Gwilliam family’s life changed forever when they found out their baby boy, Atticus, has choroid plexus carcinoma, a form of brain and spinal cancer.

This diagnosis came without warning, explained Shannon Miller, close friend of the Gwilliam family and coordinator of the North Pole Breakfast Fundraiser, a themed pancake breakfast supporting Atticus. Miller’s husband became friends with Atticus’s father as they attended graduate school together at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“It’s an unfortunate event with cancer, you never know when it’s coming,” Miller said.

On the day of the fundraiser, Atticus will begin his fourth of six rounds of chemo and will celebrate his second birthday.

“It’s basically a birthday party for him,” Miller said, “To be honest, it’s a blessing that he’s even made it this far. It just gives hope to the family during the Christmas season to celebrate another year of life for their little boy.”

Although the Gwilliam family may not know personally everyone who supports them, they have comfort in knowing there is a coalition of people behind them. The supporters of Atticus are called the “Atticus Army.”

“Atticus has been such a fighter,” Miller said, “and has truly been an example to so many through his personality, perseverance, ability to smile, laugh and bring hope.”

The North Pole Breakfast Fundraiser is held not only to support Atticus, but to support all victims of childhood cancer. The Gwilliam family hopes to bring childhood cancer awareness to the community to help find a cure.

“Only 4 percent of the donations to cancer are actually put forward to childhood cancer awareness,” Miller said, “So, there’s not a lot of support put forth to try to find a cure for childhood cancer, and so that’s their biggest goal right now.”

Atticus’s sister, Kezlin, and brother, Ryker, will be at the event with their aunt, Miller said

The event will feature a silent auction of gift cards and baskets, including kid-friendly books.

Children can meet Santa Claus and get a picture with him at 10 a.m. for $3, Miller said. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children three or older. Admission covers breakfast, which includes a holiday-themed pancake, fruit and hot cocoa or orange juice.

“It’s to provide hope,” Miller said, “to a family that needs hope at this Christmas season.”

The North Pole Breakfast Fundraiser will take place at 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Pioneer Center.