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The December 5th Fund gives families facing cancer a day to remember

On Dec. 5, 2015, Tom Wiley and his family experienced a day they will never forget.

ST. LOUIS — It's another special delivery from the FedEx of kindness.

Tom Wiley, and his organization, The December 5th Fund, dropped off a care package for a terminal cancer patient.

"So it's my understanding that he loves smoothies and he's actually been drinking a lot of them. So we told him to just pick whatever he wanted off the menu and we brought him a bunch," Wiley said.

Spreading sunshine is Wiley's life's work. It's his way of lifting the darkness.

He describes his wife Laura as the love of his life and a lover of life. But in 2014, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"You're the one that's supposed to be strong and be the rock and expected to take care of everything," said Wiley. "But half the time you're kind of a mess inside."

When the cancer spread to her bones, she was in a lot of pain and didn't get out of bed. Then something amazing happened.

"On December 5th, 2015, she woke up completely pain free," recalled Wiley, still amazed. "And because of that, we had an amazing day."

Tom woke up that morning to the smell of pancakes. For the first time in a long time, Laura was cooking breakfast. Later, he heard his two kids making a racket in the living room

"And I went up there and they were actually dancing!," Wiley said. "All three of them. Just having the time of their life. And right then and there, I knew that was a moment that I had to soak in and treasure because that just didn't happen."

And sadly, December 5th didn't happen again. A short time later, Laura passed away.

Her death turned Tom in a new direction. The advertising and marketing executive quit his job to start a nonprofit called "The December 5th Fund". 

The goal of the nonprofit was to give families going through cancer, their own December 5th.

It was exactly what the Lorenz family needed when their young son Thomas was diagnosed with Leukemia.

"We had put our minds into survival mode and hadn't really given any time to fun, family time that sorely missed" said dad Joe Lorenz.

Tom's mission is to give families a day without worry.

On that day, there were about 10 volunteers doing chores around the house. The Lorenz family was sent to a restaurant for breakfast, then a petting zoo and later they had a backyard party with all of their friends.

"They were doing things around the house that I had not even realized needed to be done," said Carol Anne Lorenz, Thomas' mom. "They weeded our garden, they cleaned underneath the couch and the beds. And when I came home, my whole house was immaculate."

"It meant so much to me," added Thomas, who is doing much better these days. "How they did all of that work just to make our family and our day really special."

To date, the nonprofit has helped 85 families and they now have more than 650 volunteers.

The plan is to keep going and growing.

Tom Wiley and the December 5th fund continue to show us that the best cure for grief is action.

"She would be proud," Wiley said. "There's no doubt about that, she would be proud."

To learn more about Wiley and The December 5th Fund, visit their website by clicking here.

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