Houston nonprofit creates snow day for kids battling terminal cancer

Here's what we know

HOUSTONOperation Snow Storm is a local non-profit that helps bring a cheerful activity - playing in the snow - to kids who are battling terminal cancer.

For most kids who call on the organization, there’s no time to waste, so no matter the time of year, they make it snow.

In Houston, it would be a unique sight no matter what, but it’s very special for Aayana Clurksy.

Clurksy was diagnosed with cancer at 14. It started in her spine and spread to her brain, according to the family.

Her mother, Kelli Francisco, said she thought they’d be all alone on this journey, but thanks to pediatric cancer organizations and family, they’ve felt supported through this trying time.

“Just have your family ready for something like this because you’re never gonna be prepared,” Francisco said. “My strength comes from her. I’m this way because I want her to know that everything is going to be ok and I don’t want her to feel like she’s alone, and if I hurt, I feel like she’s going to hurt. Grab family, grab any kind of faith that you have. I believe in Jesus, but family helps a lot.”

Francisco’s family showed up to make Operation Snow Storm one to remember for Aayana.

Ed Newby, who runs the snow storm, said there’s not much he wouldn’t do for kids with cancer.

But... how could anyone make snow in Houston?

Well, Newby is in the business of air conditioning. If he can make it cold inside, he knew he could do it outside, too.

“Long story short, we have a snow machine that takes 10,000 pounds of bagged ice, we run it through there and it comes out snow,” Newby explained.

He lets hospitals know about his organization and waits for them to share his contact with families who then make the phone call asking for this favor. Just like family, Newby drops what he’s doing to make it happen.

“It’s one of those things where we’re not able to do healing, all we can do is provide a little bit of light in a dark situation,” Newby said. “Even if it’s five minutes, it gives me a warming sensation that we’re making a difference.”

Operation Snow Storm is running on donations and ice provided by R Kay Ice. Click here to contribute to the organization.

Meanwhile, Aayana has $15,000 in medical expenses. Her family created a GoFundMe account to try and get help with the cost.