This October, the Get Well Gabby Foundation will be hosting two fundraiser events in Phoenixville. The foundation was formed in memory of Gabby Vogel, the five-year-old Phoenixville girl who lost her fight with a rare form of brain cancer in September 2011. Proceeds from both events will go to benefit the mission of the foundation which aims to help cancer research, as well as helping families who are battling a childhood cancer diagnosis.
The first event will be the third annual “Going the Distance for Gabby 5k Run/Walk” which will be held Sun. Oct. 6 at 9 a.m. at the National Christian Conference Center in Valley Forge. It is an all-terrain course which includes both blacktop and wooded areas. The walk/run is open to all ages, and anyone can register for the event. This year there is the option to enter the run as a team. The team who raises to most money will be recognized with an award after the race.
The second event is the “Carnival for the Cure” at Reeves Park which runs on Fri. Oct. 11 from 6-10 p.m., Sat. Oct. 12 from 1-10 p.m. and to Sun. Oct. 13 from 1-5p.m. Wristbands and tickets will be available. Activities at the carnival will include amusement rides, games, food vendors, and entertainment including a local magician, a photo booth, bands on stage and a DJ.
Gabby’s mother, Carolynn Vogel, said they originally got the idea of holding an annual event in Phoenixville, during Gabby’s fight.
“We had said at one point when Gabby had been fighting and the community really rallied around us (that) we really wanted to do something in the Phoenixville community every year something that was going to be good, big. This is the event that we want to have there every year (to) thank our community for all the support that they gave us, and to continue getting their support… …with our cause of fighting childhood cancer,” said Vogel.
Continued Vogel, “We’re hoping for an excellent turnout. It’s three days. Essentially, it’s going to be like a miniature Dogwood Festival. We’re trying to get different people that sell things in the community to come out as well. We are really trying to get as many community businesses involved (as possible).”
There will also be raffle tickets for sale with prizes provided by area businesses, such as tickets to Arnold’s Go Carts, gift certificates to local hair salons and items from Sweet and Sassy.
A balloon release will also take place on Sat. Oct. 12 in honor of Gabby’s birthday. It will take place in the bandstand area of Reeves Park.
“One of the things that I had said to her was, if anything should happen to her, I would always light up the sky on her birthday,” said Vogel.
Funds raised during both events will go toward the mission of the Get Well Gabby Foundation. Vogel said she has noticed a lack of support for childhood cancer, and that people do not seem to be aware of it as much as other types of cancer. She hopes by involving more local businesses within the community at the carnival that she will be able to raise more awareness and support. The foundation has already helped with two projects at A.I. duPont Hospital with funds previously raised, and will continue to do so.
Said Vogel, “The mission of the foundation is... ...looking to raise funds for research but we are also focused on the care aspect for the families as well. So we’re for both cure and care.”
At the end of last year, the foundation made a pledge to A.I. duPont Hospital of Wilmington, Delaware, to fund two projects. One is a research project to create a database that is going to house all the diagnosis information for the children with cancer among all four DuPont Hospitals. The second is funding for a playroom which is to be complete in the spring of 2014.
“We funded the playroom on the oncology floor, for A.I. duPont. We pledged to donate $125,000 to them for these two projects. We’ve already paid them a portion and we’re going to continue paying them to fund these projects.”
Vogel said she hopes the foundation will be able to help people with things they need that they cannot get from other organizations. Earlier this year, the foundation helped a child through “Gabby’s Gift”.
“We were able to send a little boy back to Disney World. He had to cancel his Make A Wish trip partway through because he had to have emergency surgery, and so we were able to send them back,” said Vogel.
“Gabby is definitely our driving force. Knowing that she didn’t really have much of a fight, if that makes sense, we’re going to keep fighting for her. We’re going to fight the childhood cancer monster that took her away from us,” said Vogel.
More information is available at Getwellgabby.org