East Bay residents rally to help toddler with brain tumor


"Loved going outside, picking flowers, looking at butterflies," Merlin Newton said.

He's talking about his daughter Delaney. She was a lively two and a half year old until last month. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and is now undergoing chemotherapy. Fortunately the family is not coping alone.

"Delaney didn't have the choice to get her head shaven," Livermore-Pleasanton firefighter Craig Berchtold said. "You know what, I have a choice to help support her and her family."

This is one of the things Delaney's family says is helping to lift their spirits.

One-by-one, the firefighters at the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department are losing their locks. Delaney's father has been part of the crew there at Engine 1 for eight years.

"It's to show that little bit extra of how we care about Merlin and his family," firefighter Bobby Hernandez said.

But it's not just co-workers. It seems everyone in Livermore knows about the family. The family sometimes dropped in for dinner at Sauced BBQ & Spirits downtown. Now co-owner Barrett Gomes will throw a big fundraiser next month.

"That night Nov. 13 is going to be about Delaney," Gomes said. "And I think the family will see how many people really care about what's going on in their lives."

Many people have purchased t-shirts and sweatshirts like this that say Team Delaney. Dad Merlin says the community support has been overwhelming.

"It's not the fundraisers or donations it's just, hey, were here to show it's not just family but your community behind you," he said.

Newton says he and his wife Janice are keeping a diary and his brother has started a blog so that one day little Delaney will know how the community put its arms around her.

Copyright © 2023 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.