MADISONVILLE — Seven-year-old Danya Parrish is asking her Western Kentucky community for help granting a Christmas wish.
The Earlington girl, with her mother and an aunt, has placed buckets in local businesses to collect money for her ailing father.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
She wants to raise enough so her dad can stay in the Hospitality House of Louisville and continue to receive treatment after he's released from University of Louisville Hospital.
Eric Parrish, 25, has been battling Hodgkin's lymphoma off and on since he was 18. In October, he received a bone marrow transplant of cells donated by his sister, Crystal Howton.
"I was the closest one in the family," Howton said. "They said there was more of a chance of it working if I was to do it."
After several healthy years, Parrish's cancer returned two years ago. At the time, doctors tried giving Parrish a transplant of his own bone marrow, but it didn't work.
"We're hoping this last time, it'll work," Howton said.
She said her brother is doing "pretty good" now.
Parrish is in isolation. He can't see Danya because visitors must be 14 or older.
"He begged them to let her (visit)," said Danya's mother, Tabitha Goforth.
Before Parrish went to Louisville, the girl gave her daddy a photo of herself, a stuffed monkey and a note that said "here's a picture so you don't forget what I look like and a monkey to watch over you."
Parrish learned of the fund-raising effort when Danya "let it slip" on the telephone the night before her interview with The Messenger, Goforth said.
"He made her give the phone to me," Goforth said. "He started crying, but he didn't want her to hear him cry."
Parrish said Danya's effort is "wonderful."
"I'm surprised," he said in a telephone interview. "It shocked me. She's a very intelligent girl. I never thought she would do this in my wildest dreams, actually."
Although Parrish's latest treatment appears to be working, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation has led to kidney problems. He's now on dialysis.
"They're trying to get my kidneys working right," Parrish said, adding that he's not sure when he will be able to leave the hospital and go to the Hospitality House, where he expects to stay from one to three months.
The Hospitality House is "where people stay whenever they have to drive a long way back to their house and a long way back to the hospital," Danya said. "I don't want him to worry about the money. So, we're putting buckets at stores, (with) a picture of me and my daddy."
Donations are also being accepted into the Eric Parrish Charity Fund at Integra Bank. The account was opened by Howton, who holds his power of attorney.
Asked how much she hopes to raise, Danya quickly answered, "$600." In addition to the $29-a-night cost of the room, Parrish will also have to pay for his food.