Raising Money, Raising Spirits

I was honored today to attend the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser at the Westmere Firehouse in Guilderland. The wonderful staff at The Melodies Center is very involved in organizing this particular event along with other teams and Tim Stowell of the Green Drakkoman Foundation.

Nick’s Round Table teens had been volunteering at this event for the past 4 years by doing arts and crafts with all the kids who attend, whether they are cancer patients, siblings, relatives, or friends.

This was the first time I attended. As I watched the fire trucks and emergency vehicles pull up in front of the firehouse, my heart clutched. Children who have been battling cancer for only months or years waved through the window so excited that a crowd had gathered to welcome them. Everyone cheered as each child and their family emerged. I was very touched when beautiful Faith, after being helped from the truck by her mother, walked into the firehouse holding the hand of one of the nurses, Holly. I laughed when Amazing Abby emerged all smiles in her brilliant green cape waving to the crowd like she was preparing to receive an Oscar. I smiled when Chase tucked his head even deeper into his mom’s neck, not quite ready to receive everyone’s support.

There were many children that I didn’t know, but I made a point to walk around and introduce myself. ¬†One mom came up to me and thanked me for the Family Hope Bags, because they had such a big impact on her child’s cancer journey.

Others offered to help with the foundation and were incredibly impressed with the teens who the arts and crafts to entertain all the kids.

I saw young adults giving back because so many had given to them. Markel volunteered at the bone marrow match table, Kendra welcomed kids at the arts and crafts, and Kacey enjoyed talking with others and connecting.

Finally, I got to meet four-year-old Isabella Caruso. Bella came right up to me after I met her parents and gave me a wave of her hand. Her beautiful blue eyes were expressive and I think held a bit of mischief. She was ready to go meet all the teens at the arts and crafts table. Her first meet and greet was with Chloe, Nick’s Fight to be Healed Foundation’s official pet therapy dog!

Bella and her family have agreed to be Nick’s Warrior for Nick’s Run to be Healed 5K this September 25, so get ready to see a lot more of her!

All this happened before, during, and after people shaved their heads. Abby got upset because people were getting their heads shaved. Once she understood that they had agreed to do this to help kids with cancer, she smiled.

Not only did this one event raise over $70,000 specifically to help research for children’s cancer, it brought people together who understand what it means for a child to lose their hair, they get the ups and downs of side effects, and the rollercoaster ride that every family faced with cancer goes through.

While raising money for research, people’s spirits were also raised and that in itself does so much to heal. I will always support this event as research is the path toward a cure, but while we work hard to make that happen, we continue to raise hope and heal kids by having fun.

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