I can’t think of anything more tragic for parents than losing their beautiful, precious child far too soon to the senseless and vicious enemy known as cancer.
Hanna was a happy, healthy 2 ½ year old girl who loved to smile and laugh and spread sunshine where ever she went. It was just two days after she told her mom and dad her back hurt, that she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in the nervous system in embryo. Suddenly a family who was counting their blessings was entrenched in a war against an enemy that had no sympathy.
After only seven short months, many surgeries, and 6 rounds of chemotherapy, Hanna lost her battle with this disease on Father’s Day 2006.
Her gift to this world continues.
But while the little girl with a smile that spread as quickly as her disease was no longer on this earth, cancer could not remove her spirit. What a true sense of bravery and love her parents have shown in allowing their daughter’s gift to touch so many other families and children.
In Hanna’s memory, Amy and Mike Paribello began the Butterfly Walk to benefit CancerFree Kids. “We can only hope that with further research funding, children like Hanna will have a better chance for a cure in the future. Hanna showed us all how to fight a battle, how to be courageous, and how to dream,” Amy said.
The Butterfly Walk is May 12.
The Butterfly Walk and Fun Festival brings together people and businesses who share in the celebration of love and support for children. The name was inspired by the magical metamorphosis of a caterpillar into an enchanting symbol of peace and harmony. That transformation into maturity is something not all children with cancer have an opportunity to experience.
“But,” said Amy, “together we can make a difference and help further the research towards treating and curing this disease, forever.”
If you visit the Butterfly Walk website you will read the stories of so many other children who are the reason the Paribello’s and all of the other volunteers work so hard.
I asked Amy how it feels to know they are making such an impact. “I am fueled by the constant need to continue our fight. Over the past 6 years, we have lost 3 of our “heros”, who have lost their battle with cancer. It is heartbreaking to know that one year they are up on stage receiving a medal for their courage, and then the next year they are an angel in heaven. We are truly committed to giving these children a voice, and fighting for their survival by advancing the progress of pediatric cancer research. Our mission is for one day for all kids to be CancerFree.”
Butterfly Walk & 5K
Registration will begin at 8 a.m.
Cottell Park in Deerfield Township
Cincinnati nonprofit CancerFree Kids was founded by Ellen and Sam Flannery after their baby daughter was diagnosed with cancer at 5 months of age. Today, due to advances in cancer research and the grace of God, that baby is a healthy 8th grader. But there is much work to do. The organization raises funds to support research in pediatric cancer.