Students Build Bike For Girl With Cancer

The past couple of weeks during Activity period the Crusaders for Social Responsibility activity has been working diligently to help out a young girl and her family who are going through very difficult times. Through the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, an organization that helps families tackling childhood cancer by providing comprehensive, financial, emotional, and practical support, the group was put into contact with a local family whose six-year-old daughter is battling cancer.

From the diagnosis to recovery and beyond, the Tom Couglin Jay Fund is part of the team, allowing the parents to focus solely on their child’s well-being; their goal is to BE THERE for the parents facing the unthinkable so they can BE THERE for their families. As soon as Mr. Rendine and project organizer Nick Penza shared this remarkable story with the group, everyone knew that something special needed to be done. The group ultimately decided that they wanted to organize a bike build. To get this idea off the ground, Nick organized an internal fundraiser which raised around 400 dollars to purchase an unassembled Trek bike, training wheels, and a helmet. 

Under the leadership of seniors Ethan Bogg and Ryan Shim, the creative team also made an inspiring poster that was delivered along with the other gifts. Additional senior leaders, Zach Wasserlauf and Owen Fizulich, and junior, Luke Macejka ensured the bike was built on-time and that it was properly assembled. While all of this was happening, Nick was also communicating back and forth with  the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund to make sure everything was on track for delivery and that all aspects were going on without a hitch.

In the weeks leading up to the delivery, the group decided that they wanted to do something special for the girl’s brother as well as her mother. So in addition to their other gifts, they purchased flowers for her mom and a gift card for her brother. This past week on Thursday, November 18, the bike and gifts were finally delivered to Kiah, the young girl, and her family. The group was kept small to ensure Kiah’s safety — she is still in active treatment– so the group that delivered the gifts included Mr. Rendine, Nick Penza, Zach Wasserlauf, Ethan Bogg, and Luke Macejka. It was so exciting to see all of this come together for Kiah and she was ecstatic. It was so great to see that despite these terrible circumstances, she was so full of joy and energy; she was such a pleasure to be around. Her mother was so generous and everyone was so happy to have been able to do this for such an incredible family. The opportunity that we were given opened the eyes of each of us and has created a lasting effect on us to continue this help and love for others. 

We hope that we could bring a smile to Kiah and her family’s faces just as they made each of us smile with their perseverance and happiness in a time of trial. With the help of our fantastic friends at the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, our great group hopes to have similar effects on numerous families as the year progresses.