LEBANON, ILL. - A Lebanon teenager is holding a yard sale, but the money isn't to buy anything for herself. It's to raise money to help her family as they prepare to say good-bye to her terminally-ill little sister.
"You wake up and you have that split second when you think everything is okay then bam, reality hits you," Victoria Cook said.
There are no words to describe what the past couple of years have been like for Victoria and her family. She has been trying to mask the pain of possibly losing her daughter, but as she admits, more often than not, it becomes too overwhelming.
"I stay strong throughout the day because that is what Katherine needs, but behind the closed doors, I crumble and I fall,” said Victoria.
In May, Katherine Cook, 11, and her family were told her disease had become terminal and she only had a few months to live. Cook was diagnosed with an aggressive cancerous brain tumor called medulloblastoma at the age of nine. The tumors have severely damaged her nervous system and stolen her energy, her mom said.
There is a experimental procedure that's set to take place in a couple of weeks. It will test a drug, which could possibly halt the growth of the tumors, but not get rid of them. Victoria hopes Katherine will be able to participate.
"It's terrible, I shouldn't have to bury my baby," said Victoria.
Katherine's funeral expenses will cost roughly $12,000, Victoria said, a price they can't afford.
But, Katherine's older sister Elizabeth Cook, 15, is determined to raise the money...through a yard sale.
"We had old toys laying around the house,” Elizabeth said. “I was like we don’t use them anymore. Let's sell them in a yard sale."
But that's not all she has to sell.
"My garage use to be completely empty, now my garage is still full."
Donations from people in Lebanon and beyond are still pouring in--some from total strangers. On Saturday, perhaps the best donation of all - a visit from a St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Trevor Rosenthal. A gift that gave Katherine an afternoon with more energy than most.
"For her to be such a big fan of mine personally, I'm excited to spend some time with her."
Elizabeth said she is happy to live in such a giving community.
"We never thought that a small town could be so amazing."
The Cook family will have another yard sale on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Lebanon at 425 West Schuetz St. If you would like to donate, the family also has a GoFundMe account. You can find the campaign here.
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