After losing sister 
to cancer, woman lends helping hand 
to children 
battling disease

Rebecca Murray (left) with her sister, Meghan Schexnayder-Grecko.

After losing her sister to pediatric cancer in 2019, Rebecca Murray made it her mission to help those going through similar, difficult journeys.

“After my sister’s passing my desire to meet our community’s needs grew tremendously,” she said. “Witnessing the financial, emotional and physical needs of not only my family, but all of the families with sick children gave my heart great urgency to do whatever I could to help these families with whatever means necessary.”

Murray’s sister, Meghan Schexnayder-Grecko, passed away after an eight-year battle with osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is the most common cancerous bone tumor among children, adolescents and young adults. Murray said that during that time, her family was supported by so many people who made the financial burden much lighter along the way.

“We are forever grateful to those people,” she said. “I remember my mom receiving a medical bill for one shot that improved my sister’s white blood cells. That bill was $6,000. When parents have to quit their jobs to live in hospitals full time with their children, we need to step up and take care of them.

“We are their support.”

Murray’s own journey to lend help began when she asked a pediatric nurse what it was that patients and their families needed.

“It grew from there. What started off with a few hundred dollars raised has turned into thousands of dollars for the families,” she said. “To see the smile on a parent’s face just because you showed them a small amount of compassion during a very difficult time is the most unexplainable feeling in the world.

“And the children – the sweet, beautiful children who in the midst of fighting for their lives are smiling more than anyone else – they are all the reason anyone should need.”

Murray has lent a hand by raising funds for the patients and their families. She recently led a blood drive on Sunday in Luling for 10-year-old Emerson “Emmie” Amend.

Rebecca Murray and her parents pose for a photo with Emerson Amend and his parents.

Murray was introduced to Emerson and his family through nurses and staff at Oschner Pediatrics. After meeting Emerson’s mother, Ashley, she said she instantly fell in love with her and her sweet personality.

“As a mother myself, my heart burst with the true devotion she has for her son,” Murray said. ‘This is my why,’ I tell myself.”

Emerson, who Murray said is very smart, funny and outgoing, recently moved to Louisiana. Upon his arrival, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Sept. 14, 2023. He is currently undergoing treatment at Ochsner Pediatrics in Jefferson. Murray said that treatment includes chemotherapy, blood transfusions, receiving platelets, physical therapy and many other treatments.

Emerson’s father, Tad, has been able to keep his employment while Ashley makes sure Emerson is at every doctor’s appointment.

“It has been incredible getting to know Emmie and his family,” Murray said. “They have been so appreciative of all of the support thus far as they do not have many family and friends here. We are incredibly honored to be the new addition to their southern family.”

Murray has recently become a board member of local non-profit Helping Hearts Foundation. The president and CEO of the non-profit is St. Charles Parish native Justin Hymel. Brett Green is vice president and co-founder.

“Each April we partner with Ochsner Pediatric to choose the very special child that will be the recipient of our April initiative, and for the entire month we bring awareness to childhood cancer, raise funds via crowd fundings, raffles and events, of which 100 percent is donated to the family for medical and living expenses,” Murray said. “And we give each child a huge basket of personalized toys and treats.”

Additionally, Murray said Helping Hearts has begun hosting replacement blood drives throughout the year to give additional compensation to the family and build community blood banks as they are in desperate need of blood.

Cancer patients use nearly 25 percent of all blood donated, Murray added.

The community can help Emerson and his family in the following ways:

• Going to any Ochsner blood bank and donating “replacement blood” in his name (Emerson Amend: 12/29/2013)

• Donating directly to the family via Helping Hearts donor box :

The community can learn more about Helping Hearts and their upcoming initiatives via social media:

• Facebook:

• Instagram:

• Weblink :