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Cancer foundation expands to Russell Co.
new vlc kans for kids outreach Caroline
The Eric Harbaugh family of rural Russell was presented a $500 donation from the Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation Russell County Outreach program last Friday at Sportsmans Corner. Erics youngest daughter, Caroline, 11 months old, was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Special to
The Tribune

More kids battling cancer are going to be helped by Kans for Kids than ever before. The Barton County based organization is expanding into Russell County with a new branch called Kans for Kids Outreach.
In 1994, Sarah and Shane Reif, ages 11 and 8, wanted to help their 9-month old cousin, Katie. Diagnosed with an undifferentiated sarcoma in her abdomen, the medical expenses were mounting for the baby. The Reif children began collecting and recycling aluminum cans to assist Katie’s family in a project called Kans for Katie, and raised $4,400. They didn’t stop there. They continued with Kans for Kara to help Hoisington teen Kara Littrell, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. A few years later, they learned of yet another girl in Great Bend diagnosed with leukemia.
That’s when the family created a 501-c-3 non-profit organization called Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation that would provide funding for any child in Barton County who received a diagnosis of cancer.
So far, “K4K” has provided emotional and financial assistance to 28 children in Barton County who have battled a variety of childhood cancers. Twenty-five of those children are cancer survivors.
Recently, Kans for Kids directors Duane and Debbie Reif, Hoisington, were contacted by Karla Berry and Kay Dolechek of Sportsman’s Corner in Russell. They wanted to begin collecting aluminum cans at their location for Kans for Kids.
The K4K board began to iron out details for an outreach program for Russell County.
It wasn’t long before the organization was contacted about an infant girl, Caroline Harbaugh, in rural Russell County who had been diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH). She is the 11-month old daughter of Eric and Lisa Harbaugh.
Kans for Kids Outreach Russell County will provide support to the family of any child who is 18 years of age or younger, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, and who is a legal resident of Russell County. An initial contribution of $500 will be given to the family from Kans for Kids. Additional funds will be available in the form of matching funds.
“We encourage the residents, businesses, schools and organizations of Russell County to hold fundraisers for the children within your county and apply for matching funds. Kans for Kids will match proceeds from those fundraisers up to $2,000 per year, per family,” said Reif. “That potentially would give each family a total of up to $4,500.”
Donations are also encouraged for Kans for Kids.
“Our hope is to build a pool of funds within Kans for Kids that is earmarked for Russell County,” Reif said. “Any donations made directly to Kans for Kids from Russell County will be added to that pool to help us provide those matching funds.” Any fundraisers held in Russell County, memorials from Russell County and aluminum cans collected at Sportsman’s Corner will help build the pool of matching funds. “We just want to encourage everyone to get behind the kids in your county who are living with cancer.”
Childhood cancer can be financially devastating to a family, Debbie Reif said. Expenses mount as families struggle to pay for many things not covered by insurance. Kans for Kids also provides emotional support through the Kans for Kids Family, many of whom have been through the journey of childhood cancer.
For more information about Kans for Kids go to or call 620-653-2210. Contributions can be made to: Kans for Kids, P.O. Box 178, Hoisington, KS 67544. Donors should indicate if a contribution is for Outreach Russell County.