Event raises $35K for young can­cer pa­tient

Fam­ily with ties to Win­teron will stay with son through­out treat­ment

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

It has been just over a month since Ar­den Kennedy was di­ag­nosed with a form of can­cer known as Stage 4 neu­rob­las­toma.

The five-year-old has been re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy treat­ments at IWK Health Cen­tre in Hal­i­fax with his par­ents, Sharon and Paddy, and sis­ter Ash­ling by his side.

The Kennedys are from New­found­land — Sharon (maiden name is Ash) is orig­i­nally from Win­ter­ton and Paddy is from Mount Pearl — but moved to Mi­ramichi, N.B. for work.

But as the say­ing goes, you can take the New­found­lan­der off the Rock, but you can’t take the Rock out of New­found­lan­ders.

Thanks to fam­ily, friends and lo­cals of the Trinity-South re­gion and Mount Pearl, the Kennedys are able to stay in Nova Sco­tia with Ar­den.

The walk

A group of eight in­di­vid­u­als from Win­ter­ton, Hant’s Har­bour and Heart’s Con­tent or­ga­nized a suc­cess­ful fundraiser for the Kennedys on Sun­day, Feb. 8 at Perl­win El­e­men­tary.

Ar­den’s Su­per Walk at­tracted some 300 peo­ple from the re­gion and fam­ily from Mount Pearl, rais­ing $35,000 in the end. It was named af­ter Ar­den’s love for Su­per Mario is what trig­gered the name.

Jen­nifer Shep­pard is a friend of the Kennedys and was one of the or­ga­niz­ers of the event.

“(In early Jan­uary) we got this news that Sharon’s lit­tle boy was sick,” she told The Compass. “Most of her side of the fam­ily are from Win­ter­ton and Hant’s Har­bour, and we just thought we should do some­thing.”

Af­ter dis­cussing ideas, the group de­cided they would host a walk-a-thon. But af­ter de­ter­min­ing the weather was too un­pre­dictable for an out­door walk in Fe­bru­ary, they reached out to Perl­win El­e­men­tary in Win­ter­ton for as­sis­tance.

“Prin­ci­pal Roger Green was ex­tremely help­ful to us,” she said. “(Green) was ac­tu­ally part of the group that pro­vided live mu­sic for the full two hours of the event. He even helped move ta­bles.”

Four lo­cal com­pa­nies do­nated over $1,000 each— Quin Sea Fish­eries, Green Seafoods Ltd., Hindy’s Home Hard­ware and Barry Group.

The re­main­ing $31,000 came from gen­er­ous dona­tions and a num­ber of events that took place at the su­per walk.

Non-mon­e­tary dona­tions be­gan com­ing in as soon as the neigh­bour­hood heard there was a fundraiser. Items like hockey tick­ets, knit mit­tens and cases of seafood were among the list. Over 100 items were do­nated, with many sold through a si­lent auc­tion.

Along with the auc­tion and live mu­sic, there was a bake sale, cos­tumed car­toon char­ac­ters, a free Zumba warm up, raf­fle tick­ets on a gi­ant teddy bear and plenty of food. There was also a room for chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

There was a line up at the door 30 min­utes be­fore it was sched­uled to start.

“Paddy’s from Mount Pearl, and his whole fam­ily came out,” Shep­pard noted.

Ex­ceed­ing ex­pec­ta­tions

When the event con­cluded at 4 p.m., they be­gan to tally the dona­tions, and ev­ery­one was blown away by the re­sult.

“When we first sat around the ta­ble, we had a goal of, ini­tially, $10,000,” Shep­pard said. “Af­ter some of the items started com­ing in, I said we were go­ing to do $20,000. In the back of my mind, I was hop­ing, re­ally hop­ing, we were go­ing to get $25,000.”

They col­lected $35,000 for the Kennedys be­tween all the ac­tiv­i­ties and dona­tions. But Shep­pard isn’t sur­prised.

“Ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties are de­clin­ing,” she ex­plained. “But one thing we can be re­ally proud of on the Trinity shore, we’re small but we’re ex­tremely mighty. There’s a lot of heart and a lot of car­ing still left in th­ese com­mu­ni­ties.”

Many lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and not-for-prof­its also do­nated to the cause.

The Win­ter­ton Recre­ation Com­mis­sion, the ACW, UCW, the 50-plus club and the home league, who sup­plied the food, were all part of the suc­cess. In­di­vid­ual mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and fire de­part­ments gave dona­tions.

“It’s amaz­ing the out­pour­ing of sup­port,” Shep­pard said.

When Sharon re­ceived the call with the to­tal raised, she was speech­less.

Later she told The Compass, “It was very over­whelm­ing and oh so won­der­ful.”

Ar­den up­date

Ar­den just fin­ished his sec­ond round of chemo­ther­apy treat­ments in Hal­i­fax, but will travel to Toronto Sick Kids Hos­pi­tal in the near fu­ture.

He will have bone mar­row har­vested and treated for a au­tol­o­gous bone mar­row trans­plant.

The mar­row will have the can­cer cells re­moved while Ar­den re­turns to Hal­i­fax for more chemo­ther­apy, then will travel back to Toronto to have his own mar­row re­turned.

The fam­ily is­sued a thank you on the Face­book page that was used to pro­mote the event, called Ar­den’s Su­per Walk.

“We have learned the com­pas­sion that lies in peo­ple we do not even know and hope to learn from their ex­am­ple. We have learned that Ar­den is in good hands and that the IWK is the place to be. We know that with­out ques­tion, Ar­den will get bet­ter.

“Your kind words and ac­tions have given us the strength to face the many chal­lenges we will face in the months to come. We will not for­get what you have all done for us. Ar­den will not for­get what you have done for him. We will see you all in bet­ter times.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO COUR­TESY OF JEREMY HAR­NUM

Some of the at­ten­dees at Ar­den’s Su­per Walk at Perl­win El­e­men­tary in Win­ter­ton Sun­day, Feb. 8.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ar­den Kennedy is re­ceiv­ing treat­ment at IWK Health Cen­tre in Hal­i­fax for neu­rob­las­toma.

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