Elida pulling together aid for young girl

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Three-year-old Hope Bilbrey, at a young age, is understanding the true meaning of “hope” in a time in which she is battling cancer.

Elida residents are putting their efforts together and seeking the help of other Roosevelt County residents in trying to save a three-year-old child with cancer. The young girl has had three cancerous tumors removed during two different surgeries, according to Tammi Rinne, a friend of the Bilbreys.

Travis and Cody have had to endure the news of their daughter’s cancer. The husband and wife reside in Kenna, a town about 30 miles southwest of Portales and five miles southwest of Elida, according to Rinne. Rinne said she is a member of the First Baptist Church in Elida along with the Bilbreys.

She said she has known the Bilbreys for almost two years, since they moved to Kenna. Rinne has two sons of her own and one of the sons is the same age as the Bilbrey’s other child, Hannah, who is six years old.

“The main thing is that we are trusting that it’s in the Lord’s hands,” Rinne said. “We’re praying for her to get well and not have to go through chemo.”

Rinne said the child was first diagnosed with two cancerous tumors, one by her kidney and the other by her liver. The Bilbreys took Hope to the Children’s Medical Hospital in Albuquerque where Hope Bilbrey had the tumors surgically removed on Dec. 30.

According to Rinne, Hope Bilbrey went back for a check up in early March where doctors found another tumor. This time they advised the parents take Hope Bilbrey to the St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Rinne said Hope Bilbrey had the other tumor surgically removed on Monday and the girl is fine and in good condition in the Intensive Care Unit.

“She acted like a normal child,” Rinne said of the girl who turned three years of age on Jan. 24. “You would have never known she was sick.”

Elida residents are holding an auction on Saturday to raise money for Bilbrey’s medical treatments. Bilbrey was diagnosed with having cancerous tumors late last year.

Deena Kinman, an auction organizer, said business owners and county residents have already donated items to auction to raise money. Deena Kinman said the idea came about with the help of her husband, Wayne, approximately four weeks ago.

Kinman said many items have been donated such as:
• four Willie Nelson concert tickets for the May 11 show in Portales

• a Western art sculpture from Skinner’s Western Wear

• a kitchen counter canister set from True Value

• home-decor items from the China Closet

• a gift certificate for a spray-in truck bedliner, baseball cap and a remote-controlled jeep from Big Valley Ford in Portales

• a pair of spurs from Jason Jones and

• Western tack items (horse equipment items).

Kinman said if anybody is interested in donating items or for information on the auction, they can call 273-6203.

Elida school administrators and Elida residents will also get together to conduct a fun run on April 28 to raise money for Hope Bilbrey. Elida school students will earn money for walking laps around the Elida track during the “Walkin’ for Hope” event.

“It’s awful, for it to happen to a little girl,” Diane Lieb, Elida resident and church member of the First Baptist Church, said. “Hopefully our community can help her and her parents. Our prayers are with the family.”