Aleksa Wants to Fight
Benefit Dinner and Event for Child Battling Cancer
By Jenny Herman
The day before Thanksgiving of 2017, 8 year old Aleksa Carey along with her family, received the news that she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer affecting the nervous system which has developed into bone cancer. This devastating news certainly came as a shock to the family, but Aleksa, who has now undergone three rounds of chemo therapy, has tried her best to remain positive although she is eager to play and misses going to school and seeing friends as often.
Aleksa’s necessary treatments require extended visits to the Buffalo Children’s Hospital, where the team is optimistic about her recovery, which will take an estimated year and a half. Her mother, Stacie, has needed to take a leave of absence from work in order to accompany and care for her daughter, who sometimes needs to stay for up to three weeks in hospital care. Due to the financial pressures of recovery and support on the family, Aleksa’s uncle, Fred Graham, along with family friends Dave Feely and Cindi Smith, have organized a benefit event to help support the family in this time of need and to aid with Aleksa’s extensive treatments. According to Mr. Graham, the community has already showed incredible support, stating “It’s just amazing how many people want to help” so they decided to create an event to best serve the family.
The benefit event, which will be fun and engaging for the whole family makes for a great outing for an even greater cause. Hosted at St. Bernard School, located at 450 W. Washington St. in Bradford, PA, the event will be held on January 20th, 2018 from 2pm-8pm and will include an optional spaghetti dinner, silent auction, children’s carnival games, and specialty retail vendors. The dinner, held in the school cafeteria, can seat approximately 150 guests but any number of visitors are welcome to stop in to the fair, silent auction, and festival, which promise to offer great prizes and chances to win items such as signed hockey jerseys, weekend getaways, and bus trips, which have been generously donated to support the cause. In addition to the silent auctions, adults can do some shopping with vendors like Mary Kay, 31, and others, who will also make donations of their proceeds. Aside from carnival games, organized by Aleksa’s teachers at School Street, kids can also enjoy a bounce house, donated for the event by the Bradford YMCA. Even more family fun includes face painting, a DJ, and live entertainment.
This fun and carefully planned event shows how much love and energy Aleksa’s friends and family are putting into supporting her recovery. If you are looking for a way to do some good and get out for a good cause, mark January 20th on your calendar and come out to support Aleksa and her family. If you can’t make the event, but would still like to help out, donations for the silent auction are still being accepted and can even be dropped off with her uncle, Fred Graham, at Holiday Valley Realty. Of course, direct financial donations of any amount are greatly appreciated by the family and can be sent to Mr. Graham, who can be contacted by e-mail at Aleksabenefit@gmail.com or by telephone at 814-598-1322.
So far, Aleksa’s treatments have provided her the happiness of being able to come home for Christmas to enjoy it with her family. Her mother, Staci, has expressed gratitude for her employer’s flexibility and understanding of her situation and for the tremendous support of the community, stating that she is “so glad be able to be by Aleksa’s side throughout this whole process” but it has been very tough for her being away from her other two kids, Kamden and Raiden.” They remain optimistic and in good spirits and look forward to this benefit event to both celebrate and support their daughter. Dinner donations are $10 for adults and $6 for children, and the event without dinner will be a donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children over 3 years of age.
Currently Aleksa is up in Buffalo undergoing her third round of Chemo. But if all goes as planned she will be able to attend the benefit.