Since 2009, all net proceeds from Paige’s Butterfly Run have gone to the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital for research and patient programs. Up to 2009, proceeds were also slated to benefit a college scholarship fund in Paige’s name at C.W. Baker High School. In those 11 years, the Arnolds have endowed two perpetual scholarships and, because of that, no longer put new money into the Baldwinsville Community Scholarship Foundation.
Paige was 6 years old and a first-grader at Palmer Elementary School when she was diagnosed with CML. She celebrated her eighth and final birthday at Children’s Hospital in Boston, where she passed away.
“She was just lovely,” her father said.
In fact, Arnold recently ran into his daughter’s kindergarten teacher the other day, he said, and she remarked on Paige’s selfless spirit. Paige had some good news to share with her class, but it was another girl’s birthday. When the teacher had asked her to share her news, Paige said no. It was her classmate’s day and she didn’t want to spoil her moment.
“She handled things very gracefully,” Arnold said of her illness. “She knew she was sick and went in the hospital with a bone marrow transplant, and that’s a horrific process for a person to go through … [but] she was graceful. She just really handled it [all] with such a sense of class.
“I’ve said this before,” he said. “She taught me how to die.”
“It wasn’t our idea,” said Arnold of the run. “We were just doing the best we could, dealing with Paige’s death, trying to raise Alex in a way that, you know, she just lost a sister. And we were trying to make our family environment as whole as possible while still acknowledging the hole that we all experienced.”