Mar 25, 2012 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
With a warm heart and a cold head, Central New Yorkers helped raise more than $300,000 to find a cure for childhood cancer.
People packed into Kitty Hoynes Irish Pub and Restaurant Sunday afternoon. Each of the 550 people came throughout the day to shave their heads, proving bald is beautiful. All money will go to fund and find a cure for childhood cancer.
Among those ditching their dos was 10-year-old Marcellus resident Isabella “Bella” Grosso. She raised about $1,700 in a week — she only signed up to participate Monday night after visiting the Skaneateles event. Her aunt, who is a teacher, had one of her students at the event.
“I saw a girl last Sunday, and it kind of got me feeling like this is something I would want to do,” she said.
But there’s a special story behind Grosso’s efforts.
“What’s special about Bella is that she had cancer,” her mom, Amy Grosso, said. “She’s been bald four times, not by choice.”
One week before Bella turned three, she came down with an illness. She had a fever, bone pain and was lethargic. After a biopsy, doctors determined Bella had leukemia, cancer of the blood.
The next two and a half years brought the toddler through chemotherapy every day, along with spinal taps and inpatient stays. One of the chemotherapy drugs made her lose her hair four times. By April 2007, she was in remission and next month, she’ll be technically cured from the cancer.
But she wanted to come out to support a friend she met through Camp Good Days, who lost his battle with childhood cancer. Supporting him, and other children in similar positions, is important to Bella.
“I can’t give any blood because I had cancer,” she said. “So the only thing I can do is shave my head.”
The Grossos have attended each St. Baldrick’s event at Kitty Hoynes since its inception in 2005. Bella has been an honored child at each event. Amy Grosso and other mothers of children with cancer attend regularly, speaking about what the event means.
“I’m really proud of her, but I’m really scared to watch,” Amy Grosso said. “Mainly because of the emotions, to see my daughter bald again. Props to her, because I’m not brave enough to do it.”
Bella has bought three scarves, one pink, one blue and one with a lot of colors, to wear until her hair grows back.
Bella’s efforts add in to the nearly $2.6 million Kitty Hoynes has raised since ’05. Last year, Kitty Hoynes was No. 2 in the world for most money raised. This year, 78 people raised more than $1,000 apiece, with 80 teams, and in total, an excess of $300,000 has been raised.
Amanda Seef is an editor/reporter for Eagle Newspapers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter, @AmandaSeef.