Johnstown Independent

Wildflower Benefest

Benefits slated for children in need of treatments

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

It's all about music and Disney princesses for 3-year-old Lucy Heller.

For others involved, it's more about much-needed medical treatment for her.

Becky Coey is coordinating Wildflower Benefest 2013 for Lucy and her family at Wildflower Park, 5639 Loudon St., near Johnstown. The benefit will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday June 29, and is the first of six benefits at the park this summer to help six local families.

Lucy, who will turn 4 in August, has infantile spasms (a very severe form of epilepsy), cerebral palsy, an abnormal brain, global development delay, an unknown degree of vision impairment and must use a feeding tube.

Medical costs are piling up for parents Ed and Theresa.

"They're battling," Coey said.

Lucy is in need of new equipment, and her parents are working hard to accomplish this while taking care of her and her brothers, Conner, 13, and Ethan, 8.

The good news is that Lucy is doing better physically than expected, Coey said.

"She's beating the odds," she said. "She's a very sweet girl."

Coey said Lucy's favorite colors are purple and pink. Lucy likes all of the princesses from Disney.

The Hellers' situation isn't unique -- even in one community. That is why Wildflower Park will be home to benefits for various families throughout the summer.

"I think it's something that needs to be done," Coey said.

She said benefits had been held at Wildflower solely for cancer patients, but that restriction was lifted. A Wildflower Park benefit could raise up to $5,000 for a family when attendance is strong.

Coey said benefits are fun to attend.

"I'm really excited," she said, adding that this is the first benefit of which she's been in charge. She said there are no expenses to the families and the families receive all proceeds. Coey said she's coordinating all of the music for Lucy's benefit and hopes to have Columbus' Dan Orr Project perform. The band has performed at previous Wildflower benefits, she said. The benefit will feature music all day, dunk tanks, inflatables, food and refreshments, auctions, raffles, and a 50/50 drawing. The event will be held outdoors, so Coey suggests bringing lawn chairs or blankets and dress appropriately for the weather. Pets are not permitted. A $10 donation fee is requested, and children ages 13 and younger are admitted free.

Coey said Wildflower Park has a float in the June 22 bicentennial parade during the Fireman's Festival, when she'll distribute fliers with the rest of the summer's benefit schedule.

"This is a fun way to help others," she said. "I can't wait to get the word out."

Other scheduled benefits:

July 27, Team Dalton

Alexandria resident John Dalton, 61, husband of Susan and father of six children with three still living at home, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Aug. 31, Team William Jr.

William Lockhart Jr. is an 11-year-old from Utica who was diagnosed with AML leukemia.

Sept. 21, Team Starkey

Five-month-old Gauge Starkey, son of Leah Starkey and Nick Murray of Hebron, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Oct. 12, Team Snyder

Tim Snyder is a graduate of Northridge High School who was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma, affecting his stomach and pelvic area. He also has a large tumor on his leg that physicians are trying to shrink so that it could be removed. He is from the Croton area.

Oct. 21, Team Valley

This event is for three Licking Valley children who are battling cancer. Shaun Bell, a fourth-grader, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Lane Sheets, also a fourth-grader, was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma. Griffen Hayden, a seventh-grader, was diagnosed with leukemia.

For more information or to make a donation, call Anita DePietro at 614-769-5575 or Coey at 740-975-0890.