Allison Hele is determined to make this holiday season as happy as
she can for her father. It will not be easy, because 54-year- old
Mike Hele, diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his neck in the summer
of 2002, recently underwent surgery after the cancer spread to his
Hele’s tongue and voice box were removed in a desperate attempt to
save his life, but following the surgery he developed an infection
and had to return to the hospital, where he is expected to remain
until shortly before Christmas.
While her father is hospitalized, 14-year-old Allison is being
cared for by her grandmother as well as neighbors in the apartment
complex where the Heles live.
Despite her father’s poor health and now his inability to speak,
she wants them to celebrate the holiday season with cheer.
“People from our church are bringing us a tree, and a neighbor is
taking me shopping,” she said. “Hopefully, we will have everything
ready when he comes home.”
When Allison learned her father’s cancer had spread, she said she
was devastated because she thought it was in remission.
“We didn’t want to go through this again,” she said. “It was so
hard the first time, and I didn’t think I could take this again.”
After Hele was diagnosed with cancer, the Kiwanis Club of Burbank
came to his aid. Stephen Veres, chairman of the club’s Kiwanis Cares
About Children fund, provided financial aid to Hele and his daughter.
Veres also asked community members to help the family.
Now Veres is turning to the community again for help.
“We are paying his telephone and electric bill and his auto
insurance,” Veres said. “He only gets state disability, which does
not cover all the bills, so we need all the help we can get.”