JANESVILLE (WKOW)-- One local family has decided to use their favorite holiday to help them heal after the loss of a loved one. They've organized a community haunted house in Janesville.
Family members say it pays tribute to 25-year-old Katie Clayton who died after a long battle with brain cancer.
"A haunted house was at the top of my list. It was something that me and my sister had spent so much time doing together," Tom Clayton says.
Tom and his sister Katie grew up volunteering at haunted houses with the local Jaycees. So when she developed a brain tumor in 2011 the family thought what better way to raise funds for her treatment. They found the perfect building, an old tobacco warehouse near the train tracks and got to work. Just as the haunted house was taking shape last Halloween the family got terrible news.
"We got the news that the radiation didn't work and the tumor had grown too fast and it was destroying her brain stem," Katie's mother Cindy Clayton says.
The show went on as planned, but just three months later in January of 2013 the cancer took Katie's life. It happened just five days after her 25th birthday.
"Doing a haunted house again just makes us feel like Katie is here with us. Definitely at the haunted house we feel her in everything we do," Cindy Clayton.
Except now the money is going to a new cause helping other young minds in the community with similar interests as Katie.
"To have the money go towards a scholarship to someone going into the health field we want to come up with more ways to create brain cancer awareness and early detection," Tom Clayton says.
But more than anything family members say Katie would've wanted people to simply have a good time getting scared and enjoying the her favorite time of the year.
"Be happy, have fun, support brain cancer awareness and the scholarships and just come here and have a great time," Cindy Clayton says.
The haunted house will be open Wednesday through Sunday nights in October. They are also hosting less scary matinee showings for young kids, because Katie had a deep love of children.
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