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Tag Archive | "fundraiser"

Benefit to help family of third grader with cancer


Beach third grader Emma Orr with her mom, Michelle Crawford, stepdad Zak Fisk, and brother Tyler, 11. Courtesy photo.

Beach third grader Emma Orr with her mom, Michelle Crawford, stepdad Zak Fisk, and brother Tyler, 11. Courtesy photo.

Emma sleeping soundly. Courtesy photo.

Emma sleeping soundly. Courtesy photo.

March 24, 6-8 p.m. at Beach Elementary

By Judy Reed

In September 2015, Emma Orr was a beautiful, happy girl who loved sparkles, and loved being outdoors playing with her kittens and running hot wheels and monster trucks through the dirt. By the end of the month, the sweet second-grader at Beach Elementary was fighting for her life.

Emma lives here in Cedar Springs with her mom and stepdad, Michelle Crawford and Zak Fisk, and brother, Tyler, 11. Michelle related how she first knew something was wrong with Emma.

“Emma woke me up with a serious bloody nose, and as the days followed, she became very pale with high fevers and she all but quit eating. Emma was admitted to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital September 24, 2015 and a series of tests were taken including an MRI, bone marrow and blood tests. On September 25, 2015, Emma was diagnosed with stage 4 high risk Neuroblastoma. The cancer was found in her shoulders, spine, left leg, pelvic bones, in her liver and around her liver.”

Emma Orr has relapsed with Neuroblastoma in her brain and spine. Courtesy photo.

Emma Orr has relapsed with Neuroblastoma in her brain and spine. Courtesy photo.

Michelle couldn’t believe what she heard. “I was an emotional roller coaster running off of 2-3 hours of sleep. I was in denial at first because Emma was always a healthy child,” she explained.

According to cancer.gov, Neuroblastoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in neuroblasts (immature nerve tissue) in the adrenal gland, neck, chest, or spinal cord. In stage 4, it has spread to distant lymph nodes or other parts of the body, and may be hard to cure.

Emma started on treatment immediately. According to Michelle, Emma completed 8 rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, four cycles of antibody therapy and 12 rounds of radiation. Her treatments started September 2015 and went until August 2016. On June 10, 2016, she went into remission.

It lasted six months.

On December 12, 2016, Emma, now in third grade, relapsed with Neuroblastoma in her brain and spine. There were four tumors with the main tumor wrapped around blood vessels. Emma was given a 0 percent chance of survival.

“Emma did 17 rounds of radiation in hopes to shrink the tumors and expand her life a little longer,” explained Michelle. She said that radiation did shrink some of the tumors, however it has caused the main tumor to start bleeding. Emma’s survival chance went up slightly to 5 percent, but the bleeding will only increase as time goes on.

The Post asked Michelle how much Emma knows about this, and how is she taking it?

“Emma realizes her chance to survive is small and she understands the bleeding will continue to get worse until the unthinkable happens.”

The family is making the most of and treasuring their time together with Emma. “Emma has dropped out of school to spend more time with family as time is ticking away,” said Michelle. “It’s been a very emotional experience for all family members involved and we are all just trying to enjoy having Emma with us as long as possible.”

Recently, they attended Disney World together and made many happy memories, through a trip made possible by the Make-A-Wish foundation. “She loved every moment of it. Emma got to meet almost every princess possible and she loved the roller coasters!”

Emma’s mom said that insurance has covered about 90 percent of Emma’s medical treatments and some of the prescriptions. But they still need some financial support. There is a gofundme page set up at http://tinyurl.com/emmaorr for those who wish to donate.

Also, the Beach Elementary PTO is holding a special 25-cent sale fundraiser for Emma on Friday evening, March 24, from 6-8 p.m. Come join in a fun night of shopping to help raise money for Emma and her family. Booths will be set up with local direct sales consultants. Two raffle prizes will be available from each booth, each valued at a minimum of $25. Purchase 25-cent raffle tickets throughout the event and drop your tickets into the cup next to the raffle prize you wish to win. To make it even better, for every $10 spent at the booths, you will earn Golden Tickets. Golden Tickets get placed into a separate raffle drawing. One lucky winner will be announced at the end of the event. That lucky winner will receive a raffle prize valued at a minimum of $25 from each of the booths present. There will also be a custom Fight for Emma “No one fights alone” bracelet at the Plunder Design booth. Be sure to check that out.

To follow Emma’s fight, you can follow the Fight for Emma facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/732117343587400/.

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Fundraiser for life saving equipment


 

The Cedar Springs Fire Department is raising money to help buy equipment to perform automatic chest compressions on patients who have suffered sudden cardiac arrest. The cost of the equipment is $15,000. Their first fundraising event will be a spaghetti dinner on Wednesday, March 8, from 5-8 p.m. at Cedar Springs Big Boy, 13961 White Creek Ave. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased from any firefighter or medic. You may also purchase at the door. Call 696-1221 to order tickets. Leave a voicemail and the station will return your call.

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Solon spaghetti dinner raises funds for township park


A spaghetti dinner and dessert auction last weekend raised over $1,000 for Solon Township’s Velzy Park.

A spaghetti dinner and dessert auction last weekend raised over $1,000 for Solon Township’s Velzy Park.

By Vicky Babcock

The mood was warm and festive, the company, in turns, warmly supportive and fiercely competitive. It was a gathering of friends, family and community motivated by a common cause—to eat—and to aid in the culmination of a dream. It was Solon’s second annual spaghetti dinner/dessert auction fundraiser for Velzy Park.

The community came together in support of Velzy Park. With mood music created by Courtney King and tables dressed in Valentine splendor, about 80 area residents sat down to a buffet style supper of spaghetti, garlic bread and salad cooked in house by our own Annette Ellick.

The atmosphere changed when the first desserts were brought out to be auctioned, however.  Friends and neighbors vied for their choices of desserts from the huge array of donated items. It was good-natured rivalry, with some desserts reaching upwards of $50. Many of the desserts were shared table to table and there was plenty left to take home for later. Desserts ruled, but they were not the only choice for bidding as a growler fill and tee shirts donated by David Ringler also shared the auction table.

The event was made possible by the Park Committee, its many volunteers, both in service and donated desserts and other related items. It was a community effort enjoyed by the community.  The event brought in over $1,350 with about $1000 for the park realized after expenses.

The creation of the park will help fill a gap in the Township’s infrastructure. While Long Lake Park—a County Park—is located within its boundaries, Solon has no structured parks of its own. The Township envisions a green area with a soccer field, baseball diamond and playground area, as well as picnic tables and a walking trail. With the North Country Trail planning a route through the park, it will become an important pit stop from the West as it makes its way into Cedar Springs.

Velzy Park is the collective dream of a number of citizens, an area where the community can come together for social events and play, both structured and unstructured. The park will be open to everyone and will not rely on tax dollars. Look for groundbreaking on the trail this spring or summer as the committee continues fundraising efforts. For more information or to donate or volunteer, please call the township office at 616-696-1718.

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5th annual quilt show for library


This quilt will be raffled off at the Cedar Springs Friends of the Library quilt show on March 18. Get your tickets at the library.

This quilt will be raffled off at the Cedar Springs Friends of the Library quilt show on March 18. Get your tickets at the library.

The Cedar Springs Friends of the Library will be having their 5th Annual Quilt Show fundraiser on Saturday, March 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cedar Springs Middle School. Admission is $2 per person, and under 12 is free.

The Friends will once again be raffling off a beautiful quilt that was designed by Barb Grutter, pieced by Louise King, and quilted by Aerie Quilting. Raffle tickets are available at the Library or at Luv 2 Quilt for $1 each or 6 for $5. The quilt will also soon be on display at Independent Bank and they will have raffle tickets as well.

The Friends are also taking registrations for people who would like to show their quilts. They have changed and added categories to have better variety and competition. The categories are: King/Queen; Full/Twin; Crib/Wall-Hanging; and Table Topper/Tote. There is a limit of three items per person, and you will need a registration form for each quilt shown. Quilts should not be shown that have been shown previously. Quilt registration forms are available at the library or by calling either Barb Grutter at 616.263.9500 or Louise King at 616.696.1376.

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Velzy Park fundraiser


ENT-Velzy-Park-spaghetti-dinner

Grab your sweetie! Mark your calendars! The Velzy Park Committee is hosting their second annual (fall in love with Velzy Park) Valentine Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, February 11 at Solon Township Hall. All proceeds go towards the construction of the new park behind the Township office. The dinner includes a dessert auction as well as musical entertainment performed by our very own Courtney King! Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Township office (15185 Algoma Ave, Cedar Springs) Monday through Wednesday or at the door. Park committee members will be selling tickets as well. Ticket prices are $10.00 each or two for $18.00. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner begins at 6:00 p.m. with the popular dessert auction following.  There will be a 50/50 raffle as well. Join your neighbors and shake off the winter blues while helping to make this much needed park a reality! For more information, call 616-696-1718 or check out the Park’s facebook page (Solon Township’s Velzy Park).

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Senior All Night Party (SANP) Fundraiser – Adult Glow Bowling


 

January 28th, 2017 at Sparta Lanes. Parents, come bowl with your friends, try to win prizes, and much, much more. Email: sjmorris2085@gmail.com for details. Space is limited so don’t miss out on this fun event.

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Game show comes to Grand Rapids


Pastor Steve Lindeman, Cedar Springs UMC (left) and Pastor Ken Bremer, Rockford UMC (right), were both part of the game show fundraiser for North Kent Community Services last week. Contestants Lydia Syrba and Dave Jensen with game show host Dean Lichtenwalner.

Pastor Steve Lindeman, Cedar Springs UMC (left) and Pastor Ken Bremer, Rockford UMC (right), were both part of the game show fundraiser for North Kent Community Services last week.
Contestants Lydia Syrba and Dave Jensen with game show host Dean Lichtenwalner.

North Kent Pastors Square Off for food pantry fundraiser

Local pastors entertained community members and leaders to net more than $70,000 (after expenses) for North Kent Community Services Wednesday night, November 2, at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

The third annual fundraising event featured church leaders from Rockford, Sparta, and Cedar Springs stacked in a giant “Tic Tac Toe” square on stage (similar to the old TV show Hollywood Squares) before 550 guests and dozens of sponsors. Proceeds from this lively and hilarious competition benefit the programming and services of North Kent Community Services (NKCS).

“We are so grateful to our local pastors for their willingness to have fun and raise money for people in need in northern Kent County,” said Claire Guisfredi, Executive Director at NKCS. “Each year, our generous community and sponsors step up to ensure NKCS is able to provide resources and lead people to self-sufficiency. We are truly blessed.”

Contestants Lydia Syrba and Dave Jensen with game show host Dean Lichtenwalner.

Contestants Lydia Syrba and Dave Jensen with game show host Dean Lichtenwalner.

The guests were treated to another version of the classic song, “American Pie”—with accompanying slideshow—by the singing duo Pastors Darrin Compagner (Blythefield Christian Reformed Church) and Jon Huizenga (River Rock Church). A new video highlighted how NKCS impacts our local community. Kimberly, one of the participants of the Thrive Empowerment Program, spoke about her journey of transformation because of Thrive.

The game show included guests as contestants trying to win prizes based on the pastors’ correct or incorrect responses. The 11 pastors bantered and bluffed their way throughout the evening, providing comical commentary to the amusement of all the guests. The celebrity square pastors were:

Jeff “Spanky” Amlotte of Mamrelund Lutheran; Paul Bradford, Rockford Reformed; Ken Bremer, Rockford United Methodist; Jeff DeRyke, Bridgeway Community; Fr. Darrel Kempf, Our Lady of Consolation; Steve Lindeman, Cedar Springs United Methodist; Mark Pietscher, Bella Vista; Justin Rowland, Rockford Baptist; Bryan Schneider-Thomas, Peace Lutheran; Laurie TenHave-Chapman, First Congregational Church; Nate Wagner, Sparta Baptist Church.

For pictures of North Kent Pastors Square Off and more information about North Kent Community Services, please visit www.nkcs.org.

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Music Festival, games, family fun this Saturday


 

Fundraiser for Brison Ricker will be held rain or shine

n-music-festival-fundraiser-brison Would you like to have some great family fun and contribute to a good cause at the same time? Come on out to Skinner Field at Morley Park on Saturday, October 15, from noon to 5 p.m., for the Music Festival, Games and Family Fun event put on by Team Brison, to help raise funds for local teen Brison Ricker, who is suffering from a brain tumor.

This event will have a dunk tank for the kids who attend to dunk some of their favorite (or not so favorite) teachers and faculty (if the weather is warm enough). There will be live musical performances by the Larsen Brother’s Band, Riley Tate, Four Soldiers, Aubrianna Ensley, Mane Street, and Country Rewind.

The Grilling Company is donating Barbeque with sides (asking donations to Team Brison for the meal). Drinks and concessions will be sold at the Skinner Field Concession stand. Team Ensley will have a hot air balloon there for people to get into and check out. En Gedi will have bubble balls for bubble soccer from 12 to 3 p.m. There will be a cake walk, raffle items, auction items (Deer Mount, Carbon Fiber Arrows, Ice Fishing Pole, Michigan State tickets, and more), vendors, face painting, three legged race, and more.

Tickets are $5.00 if you purchase them ahead of time at eventbrite.com or $10 at the gate. To buy them ahead of the event visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/music-festival-games-and-family-fun-for-team-brison-tickets-27171816635

Brison Ricker is living with a rare and often deadly childhood brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine glioma (DIPG). With the help of medical professionals and advancements in medicine, he is battling his way through but needs more treatments.

The friends of Skinner Field have donated the use of their facilities for Team Brison to host a fundraiser for Brison and his family to help with medical costs. They can use a few more volunteers to help make this fundraiser event a success. If you would like to help out please call Perry at 616-439-0890. If you would like to be a vendor at the event please contact Amanda at 616-240-3174.

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Community shows outpouring of support for teen with cancer


 

Fundraiser Aug. 23 to help with treatments

Brison Ricker, 15, was on the Varsity soccer team at Cedar Springs High School last year, before being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Brison Ricker, 15, was on the Varsity soccer team at Cedar Springs High School last year, before being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

By Judy Reed

The greater Cedar Springs community and beyond has wrapped its arms around the family of a local teen with a rare brain tumor, and the alternative cancer treatment they are working so hard to help raise funds for is showing signs of working—something that conventional cancer treatment did not do. In fact, the latest MRI on 15-year-old Brison Ricker shows that the tumor has shrunk to 1/3 the size it was previously.

It’s definitely a miracle—especially when you find out that Brison’s parents—Brian and Kim Ricker, of Nelson Township, were told less than two months ago by their conventional oncologist to take Brison home and call in hospice because he didn’t have long to live.

Before symptoms began last fall, Brison was a happy, well-liked and athletic teen, who loved riding dirt bikes with his younger brother Preston, and playing soccer. According to Kim, Brison raced motocross and supercross, and came in second place in the state for the two classes he raced in. He also was on the Varsity soccer team as a freshman, and voted offensive player of the year.

His symptoms started around Thanksgiving time with dizziness. “He’s extremely active, so I told him to drink enough water, not to get dehydrated,” explained Kim. The symptoms continued and progressed to blurred vision and seeing double, so she made an appointment with their pediatrician after the first of the year. “They said it was an eye issue and sent us to an eye doctor, who prescribed him glasses. “We got those and they didn’t work,” said Kim. “I had a feeling they wouldn’t. I suspected it was something major.”

Kim asked the pediatrician to schedule an MRI to see what was going on, but he didn’t think it was anything major. “I had to fight with him about it. I finally said I’m taking him to the ER to get an MRI then, and he said o.k.” Brison had the MRI and they got the diagnosis on January 22: the MRI showed a rare and deadly childhood brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine glioma (DIPG), which is nearly always fatal and lacks an effective treatment, according to Stanford University.

According to a news article from Stanford’s medicine news, DIPG affects 200-400 school-aged children in the United States each year and has a five-year survival rate of less than 1 percent; half of patients die within nine months of diagnosis. Radiation gives only a temporary reprieve from the tumor’s growth. In addition, it is inoperable. It grows through the brain stem, where breathing and heartbeat are controlled, “with the healthy and diseased cells tangled like two colors of wool knitted together,” said Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at Stanford.

Brison Ricker (seated) with Dad (Brian), brother Preston, and Mom (Kim).

Brison Ricker (seated) with Dad (Brian), brother Preston, and Mom (Kim).

The news of Brison’s tumor was devastating for the family. “There’s not words to describe how it felt. We were horrified. Our whole world was crashing down,” shared Kim. She said she also questioned God about it. But Brison’s faith and the support of family and friends helped keep them steady. “He has handled it like a champ. We get strength from him. He has a very strong faith, as do we. And, as soon as we found out, our room was filled with friends from church who came to pray. It helped our focus to be on God’s word and not what the doctors are telling us; to focus on God’s promises and not the diagnosis,” explained Kim.

A Gofundme page was set up for donations, and Team Brison (you can find them on Facebook) began putting together numerous fundraising events to help the family. And people began to pray.

Brison first underwent radiation, and did several alternative treatments at home to help fight the cancer, including eating a strict, healthy, organic diet. Kim said they wanted to go to the Burzynski clinic in Texas in March, when Brison’s radiation was done, because they offered an alternative treatment that had had some success with patients. But she said that the oncologist recommended against it, because he said he had seen people do that and waste their money.

The cost for the first month of treatment down there would be $30,000, and it would be a minimum of $17,000 per month after that. None of it would be covered by insurance. Not to mention the loss of income they would suffer. Faced with that and the fact that the oncologist recommended against it, they didn’t go.

But Brison continued to deteriorate. He lost 25 pounds, and his liver was under stress. The steroids he was on for inflammation broke down his muscle and skin and contributed to fatigue. By the end of April, he needed help to stand, sit, and walk. And his tumor had grown 6mm bigger, and there was swelling in his brain. He continued on steroids and the alternative treatments he was receiving locally.

On June 18, Brison went to the ER because his symptoms were progressing, and had another MRI. The news was devastating—his tumor had doubled in size from just six weeks before and was spreading to other parts of his brain. “The doctors say there are no clinical trials available anywhere for him and there is nothing left that they can do for him, and sent us home to cherish the precious time we have together. They suggested that we call Hospice and said at the rate the tumor is growing they believe his time is very limited,” wrote Kim in a Gofundme update on June 19.
“We went home and called the Burzynski Clinic right away,” said Kim. She researched a few other clinics, but the Burzynksi Clinic was the only one that had any success with treating that type of tumor. And Kim was able to talk with the mother of a 14-year-old that had been treated there, which helped them make their decision. “We prayed about it and felt this is where God was leading us,” she wrote. Additional gene-targeting meds were going to add another $40,000 to the cost, and they didn’t know how they were going to be able to keep the treatments going, but they trusted God and went.

They originally thought they would be there a month, but came back a bit sooner. Some additional new meds the clinic wanted to start him on wouldn’t have been covered there, but the oncologist here agreed to work with them and offered to give them to Brison here, which meant they would be covered by insurance. They still, however, have thousands and thousands of dollars in expenses to be met for other meds.

On Thursday, August 8, they received some amazing news: not only was the tumor one-third the size it was, but it was dying from the inside out. His oncologist here was surprised. “He said he’d never seen any results like this, that basically we were in a gray area of medicine from a regular oncologist’s point of view, because they hadn’t seen this combination of treatments before,” said Kim.

She also spoke with Dr. Burzynski this week, and he wants to continue with the treatment and get an MRI in four weeks. “There is some controversy between the doctors on how treatment will go moving forward but we’ll work it out,” she said. “The main thing is Brison had great results. He is tired and worn, but holding steady. Steady is good. If he was not on this treatment, he would not be with us.”

Kim said that the family has been overwhelmed with the support that they have received, even from people they don’t know. Brison is in awe of it all, especially the little notes or gifts he gets from people. She hopes people will continue to show Brison how much they care about him. “He thinks those gifts and notes are pretty awesome,” she said.

One of the ways their faith in God has helped them through this, is to see how it has affected other people. “A ton of people have said how our faith has strengthened them. It’s amazing to see how through all this we are touching and encouraging people and making their faith stronger,” remarked Kim.

While Brison received good news about his tumor, he is not out of the woods and will need more treatment, which means continuing expenses for the family, and they can only continue the treatments with your help. Another fundraiser has been set for August 23 at Cedar Springs High School at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds will go to benefit Brison. Speakers are Tracey Casey-Arnold, founder/CEO of W.I.T. Wellness Consulting, founder of WIT Ministry and Whatever it Takes Radio Network; and Matt Lehr, former NFL football player, NPC Super Heavy Weight and GASP athlete, and NPC Texas Judge. Arnold will speak about using faith to help win in life; Lehr will speak about overcoming adversities. Tickets are $25 each, with the option to donate more. They ask that you please purchase tickets ahead of time at: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/brison-ricker-fundraiser-event-with-tracey-arnold-and-matt-lehr-tickets-26959235800. Or go to eventbrite.com and search for Brison Ricker.

For info on this and other fundraisers for Brison, search for the Team Brison page on Facebook.

To donate directly to Brison, visit https://www.gofundme.com/brisonricker or send a check to Brison Ricker, 5370 Dio Dr., Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Fundraiser for Brison Ricker


ENT-Ricker-fundraiser

Would you like to be inspired and help out someone in need at the same time? Then mark your calendar and purchase tickets to hear some great speakers at Cedar Springs High School on Tuesday, August 23 at 6:30 p.m. All proceeds from tickets sold will go to help local teen Brison Ricker, who is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor.

Speakers are Tracey Casey-Arnold, founder/CEO of W.I.T. Wellness Consulting, founder of WIT Ministry and Whatever it Takes Radio Network; and Matt Lehr, former NFL football player, NPC Super Heavy Weight and GASP athlete, and NPC Texas Judge. Arnold will speak about using faith to help win in life; Lehr will speak about overcoming adversities.

Tickets are $25 each, with the option to donate more. They ask that you please purchase tickets ahead of time at:  http://www.eventbrite.com/e/brison-ricker-fundraiser-event-with-tracey-arnold-and-matt-lehr-tickets-26959235800. Or go to eventbrite.com and search for Brison Ricker.

For info on this and other fundraisers for Brison, search for the Team Brison page on Facebook.

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