In May of 2018, 7-year-old Mehlia Glander received a playset from Roc Solid Foundation. Her mama bear, Kristin Glander, said the biggest thing she remembers from that day is how the Roc Solid team felt like family filling the backyard of their Chesapeake home. As a military family, they didn’t have any family nearby and Mehlia’s treatment made it hard for them to connect with the community. Kristin said the laughter on the build site, the joy the team brought to her family, and how the build leaders embraced her kids, Mehlia, Cordelia age 3 and Russel only two-weeks old, made it an unforgettable day, and they knew they wanted to become a part of the Roc Solid family.
In the months that followed, Mehlia had rough days of treatment to fight pre-B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, but the Glander family continued to lean on Roc Solid for a community that knew what they were going through. Mehlia’s papa bear, Jonathan Glander, spoke with Kristin at Ready Bag Packing Parties and fundraisers for Roc Solid Foundation and, through doing so, became a part of the cancer community for many more families, just as Roc Solid did for them.
The Ready Bag program holds a special place in the hearts of Kristin and Jonathan. On the day Mehlia was diagnosed with Leukemia, “the whole world fell away,” Kristin said. Mehlia is their oldest child and they had struggled for years to have her. “We were paralyzed with fear that we might lose her.” Kristin recalls. The Glander family was transferred to CHKD in Norfolk, VA, where they first met Bryan Sellitti, a Child Life Specialist who worked full-time at CHKD at the time, but is now full-time at Roc Solid. Bryan stepped into their hospital room with hands full of hope and gave the Glander family their Ready Bag. Kristin said she and Jonathan looked at each other tearfully and both said, “There are people who do this for people?!” From there, the Glander family’s connection to Roc Solid began.
Several years later, in 2021, the Glander family was moved to Ohio due to Jonathan’s position in the military. Kristin said one of the hardest parts of the move was being far from the family they had come to know in the Roc Solid team. Although Mehlia ended treatment in 2020, the family was deeply connected to Roc Solid and was actively involved to help build hope for other families. When Kristin and Jonathan heard that Roc Solid was launching the first-ever Play Defeats Cancer Tour in the spring of 2022, they said they immediately checked for a build in Ohio and found one close to them. Krisitin said they knew it was so important for her family to be involved because, “(We) love being able to be on the other side and bring that comfort to other people and let them know they are not alone.” Krisitin and her children, Mehlia now age 11, Cordelia now age 6, Russel now age 4 and Charity age 2 came to West Farmington, OH on May 3, 2022 to build hope for a local family whose child is fighting Neuroblastoma. The Glander family brought gifts for the child and their sibling, and made sure to connect with the family. “We want to be that community for them once Roc Solid leaves because Roc Solid was our family when we needed them the most.” Kristin explained. “When people show up for you, it changes you.”