Christmas is less than a week away and for lots of families it’s a perfect chance to do some mother-daughter shopping. That’s true for 10-year-old Skyla Dennis, and her mom, Beth. They’re at the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Orchard Park.
It's tough to find the fourth grader without a smile, and it may be hard to see what she's been going through over the past couple of years.
“She got diagnosed with Leukemia, January 28th 2014,” said Beth.
“My dad's birthday,” remembered Skyla.
That fight, didn't get any easier after that.
“She happened to relapse, 14 months after her first transplant. So, we hit it even harder that time, huh? We rocked it out!” said Beth.
Skyla is not the only one battling a disease in this store. It’s a part of Eric Wood's Operation Big Santa. Wood plays center for the Buffalo Bills.
“They're all going through a lot, and just to try and brighten their Christmas week, get them around some of the players, it's just a real fun night,” said Wood.
Wood knows exactly what it’s like to be in a family with sick child. While he was growing up, he lost his brother.
“I am more aware on a personal basis with financial strains of having a sick child,” said Wood.
That's one big reason why Wood's foundation is giving out shopping sprees for 40 kids fighting cancer, including Skyla.
Skyla only wants to use her $250 gift card on one thing.
“What I want is to get you something,” said Skyla to her mom.
For Skyla and Beth, it's a night of normal; a night of some mother-daughter shopping with time winding down until Christmas.
“Just cherish every moment you can. That's all we can really do right now,” said Beth.
Fifteen months have gone by since Skyla's second transplant.
“Nothing can hold us back, huh?” asked Beth to her daughter.
“Nope,” replied Skyla.
Eric Wood may be on the sideline with an injury, but he is up for an award. Wood is the Bills’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. The award celebrates achievements on and off the field.