When Chris Arnold and Ellen Yeomans handed a donation to the Golisano Children’s Hospital Wednesday, it marked the 20th year of supporting child cancer treatment. Paige’s Butterfly Run and the proceeds are also a way to remember their daughter who died of cancer.
Paige’s father Chris Arnold calls it a second Christmas…being able to announce the donation, this year of 232-thousand dollars. He and Paige’s mother Elle Yeomans know what it’s like to hear your child has cancer…Paige was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1993 at age 6 and died in 1994..
“We are very sympathetic and empathetic to those families that have come to same situation of a diagnosis of cancer for a child. And it’s really very healing for us to be able to help those families through the family assistance programs, the fun fund and contributions to research.”
The family assistance includes a backpack to manage multiple visits, a blanket and toiletries because families might be staying and showering at the hospital. Nurse Manager Kerry Anna Kershner says the donation really helps families cope.
“The needs of cancer patients and their families are extreme and there over the long term. So there becomes a lot of unmet needs that a hospital just can't provide”
Pediatric Nursing Director Linda McAleer says the funds help raise spirits in creative ways.
“So that creativity leads to all kinds of crazy events and activities that helps normalize children being in the hospital, which is so important to the family and to the child to heal.”
And for father Chris Arnold, the donations are part of his healing.
“As a parent the one thing you’re charged with doing besides loving your child is protecting your child. It’s hard not to feel you’ve let that child down, even if you’ve done everything you can. And this has been a gift to us, Paige’s Butterfly Run, to be able to go on from there. We can’t do anything for Paige anymore, other than honor her memory, and love her in memory. But in her name we can do things to help other families and children.”
This year marked the 20th annual Paige’s Butterfly Run…with total donations topping two-and-a-half million dollars.
Information about next year’s run…and other fundraising events…can be found at PBRun.org