Benefit for former Craig resident raises $25K |

Benefit for former Craig resident raises $25K

About 250 people attend Wyoming fundraiser for former Craig girl

Brian Smith
Brianna Burkett, 9, waives a sign Monday advertising a lemonade stand she is running with the help of her brother, Tyler, to benefit Hannah Sixkiller. Brianna said she knows Hannah from school, and hopes to raise money to help cover the cost of Hannah's brain cancer treatment.Brian Smith

Brianna Burkett, 9, excitedly displayed a sign Monday in the 700 block of Yampa Avenue, stretching it so vehicles passing by could see.

The sign had a simple message: "Lemonade 4 Hannah."

"It's very sad what happened to Hannah," Brianna said. "I hope that they can find a cure."

Brianna and her brother, Tyler, 7, sold lemonade as a fundraiser for Hannah Sixkiller, a 7-year-old Dixon, Wyo., girl, who is undergoing treatment for cancerous brain tumors.

Hannah was diagnosed in June and is currently undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment at Children's Hospital in Denver.

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Doctors removed the largest of the masses, but consider some of the tumors to be inoperable, said Ryan Sixkiller, Hannah's mother.

Since setting up their lemonade stand Saturday, Brianna and Tyler said they have raised $230 they will donate to help cover Hannah's medical costs.

Brianna, who knows Hannah from school, said her goal is to raise $1,000.

The lemonade stand is her way of contributing to Hannah's cause.

Other area residents lent support Sunday through a fundraiser in Dixon.

Dixon resident Brianna Braun, a friend of Ryan's, organized a roping and barrel racing benefit to help the Sixkiller family.

Braun said she decided to organize the event because "Hannah is just such a wonderful little girl."

The fundraiser attracted about 250 area residents at Russell Community Park.

Braun estimated the event raised about $25,000 for Hannah and her family.

About 40 barrel racers and 150 ropers from the area participated in the event, which also featured an 80-item silent auction.

"I think everybody was just excited to help and do something for them," Braun said.

Ryan said she and Hannah were able to attend the fundraiser.

"It was awesome," she said. "There were a lot of people there and I had a really great day and a really great time."

The benefit also helped keep Hannah's spirits up as she heads into another round of treatments.

"She got to play with her friends and ride her horses," Ryan said. "She had a blast."

Ryan said she was "overwhelmed" by the number of rodeo participants and community members from the area that attended.

She said she is grateful for the community's support the last few months.

Brianna wasn't able to attend Hannah's fundraiser, but said she wanted to do something for her friend.

She said her family has "really had (Hannah) in our prayers."

Brianna said she plans to sell lemonade from noon to 2:30 p.m. each day until Friday.

"I asked my brother if he wanted to do a lemonade stand and give the money to Hannah," she said. "He thought that would be an awesome idea."

One Craig resident, who wished to remain anonymous, donated $100 to the lemonade stand, Brianna said.

"I just hope that she can live her life and not have to go through it all again," Brianna said.

Braun said Sunday's fundraiser was very positive and supportive despite the sad circumstances in which it was organized.

"I would say it was one of complete support," she said. "To have people come and interact like that … is just incredible. They all want to help and they are all very supportive."

Braun said one of the ropers participating in the event may have said it best.

"I was just kind of walking around and he said, 'You know, you get caught up in your own life and something like this happens and it is just really humbling,'" she said.

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