Five 14-year-olds are fighting pediatric cancer by raising funds for the Max Cure Foundation.
Nikki Biel, Dani DeCesare, Nikki Dionisio, Renee Masukawa and Lindzy McCarty all live in Danville and are in the eighth grade at Diablo Vista Middle School. In their leadership class, taught by Angela Pappachan, students need to perform 20 hours of community service. During the summer, Dani attended the Max Cure Carnival on the East Coast. Max Cure, named for the founder's son, who contracted B-Cell lymphoma, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to researching rare pediatric cancers, improving treatments and finding cures. Dani wanted to choose it for her community service project. Only trouble? The Max Cure Foundation wasn't active on the West Coast.
"Why isn't it out here?" Dani asked her mother, Hilary DeCesare, who is on the board of the foundation and is one of its sponsors through Everloop, an age-appropriate social media site that she cofounded for kids.
"We decided that we'd be that group of girls that brought Max Cure to Oakland Children's Hospital," said Dani. "Both my mom and David Plotkin, the founder of Max Cure, got us a tour of the hospital and introduced us to Ken (McKinney, director of philanthropy)."
Hilary said she helps the girls, who put a formal business plan together and are meeting every other week. "She's been really helpful and kept us on the right track, but all the main ideas are coming from
"This started as a trickle, with just the five girls," said Hilary. "Every person who left that night was inspired and left with a feeling of wondering what else they can do. When you hear these five girls saying they want to make a difference, it challenges you."
Next up is a community event, a Burger Throw-down, planned for the end of the summer. Dani said they'll invite seven or eight chefs to this burger cook-off and have fun carnival games, information tables and the like. And that 20 hours of service commitment has turned into much, much more. "We all plan on doing this at least one time every year," Dani said. "We'll be continuing to raise money for Max Cure."
RELAY FOR LIFE: Lori Garcia, event chair of the Danville Relay for Life event on July 28-29, sent me an email requesting that people grow their hair out to donate, as local Danville stylists will be cutting hair for free for Wigs for Kids and Pantene Beautiful Lengths, both of which work with the American Cancer Society in making and donating wigs to children and adult cancer patients. Both accept only noncolor-treated hair (and no more than 5 percent gray) with a 10-inch length for Wigs for Kids and 8 inches for Pantene.
Garcia also said that at their March 20 meeting, the Danville Town Council proclaimed July 28 and 29 as Relay for Life days throughout Danville. The proclamation urges all citizens to recognize and participate in this cancer awareness campaign held in our community and proclaims the event as the "Purple Ribbon Campaign" to show support to those individuals living with cancer and to honor individuals who lost their lives to this dreaded disease.
lend a hand: Volunteers are needed for Lend-A-Hand, an April 28 community event to help seniors in need who reside in Danville with their spring yard cleanup. To assist as a volunteer, contact the Town of Danville's Senior Services at 925-314-3490 or email@example.com for an application.
Applications need to be returned no later than Friday to the above email address or to the Danville Community Center at 420 Front St.
Contact Georgia Lambert at firstname.lastname@example.org.