Jewell Cardwell

Big, beautiful bouquets to all of those who had a hand in knitting Joey’s Blankets and the comfort they bring to others.

Here’s a little of the back story as shared by Kathie Clark Brown, who with her cousin Sis Ames made the first blanket for Joey Karam. Joey was in Brown’s kindergarten class at Arrowhead Primary School in Copley.

“You did an article when we did a ‘Jingles for Joey’ campaign at the school,” Brown reminded me. “Joey led the way collecting $5,000 in donations for St. Jude Hospital. At the time, Joey gave money out of his own piggy bank. His words to his mother were, ‘I have to give my money if it will help save other kids.’ ”

Brown has since retired, and Joey is feeling healthy again.

Joey has had brain cancer since he was a year old, Brown said. “He is now 11, having survived four brain tumors, a stroke and meningitis … Two years ago, the prayer shawl ministry knit Joey a blanketful of prayers to bring him strength and comfort. Joey loves his blanket knit with bright colors and lots of textures. In fact, Joey’s blanket became known at Children’s Hospital as it stayed on his bed during the months of his hospital stay.

“Last winter when he had to be back in the hospital again, Joey designed a new blanket. From that time on, we have been knitting and giving ‘Joey Blankets.’ In fact, Gino [Altieri], who you wrote about on Saturday, Feb. 11, received a Joey Blanket in advance of your column.”

A Feb. 6 story about 9-year-old Trinity Petit inspired the prayer shawl ministry at The Chapel in Akron, and the latest Joey Blanket is being delivered to her with Joey’s thoughts and prayers.

More than 400 prayer shawls and more than 100 blankets have been given to children as far away as Haiti.

“A group at Sumner on Ridgewood in Copley made all of the Joey Blankets,” Brown continued. “We call them the Sumner Souls of the prayer shawl ministry.”

Royal activities

Got a little girl in your life who likes to be treated like a princess?

Then this party with a purpose might be just the thing that brings a royal smile to her face and a bright light to the lives of those in need.

“Photos, stories, autographs and a real princess tea party will be just a few of the royal activities” at Pastries with the Princesses at 1:30 p.m. March 11, writes Lowery D. Lockard, spokeswoman for the Dane Foundation, whose mission is to address the needs of individuals with disabilities, single mothers and senior citizens.

This party will take place in the Redeemer Family Life Center, 2141 Fifth St., Cuyahoga Falls.

“When the little princesses and their court arrive, they’ll enjoy a red-carpet welcome to the Princess Tea Room. They will meet and have photo sessions with Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Fairy Godmothers, the Evil Queen and other princess friends! Little princesses will also enjoy a tea party, princess games and activities, a Princess Shop, a princess story by Snow White and a token princess gift to take home.”

Of course, guests are encouraged to dress in their favorite princess outfit, and parents are invited to bring cameras.

Tickets are $12 for all ages and must be purchased in advance. For more information, please call 330-703-1183 or email Info@TheDaneFoundation.org

According to Lockard, the Dane Foundation provided more than 500 individuals with food, clothing, household products and children’s toys during the holidays.

WJ Fights Cancer Week

Jim Donovan, sportscaster and news anchor at Cleveland’s WKYC-TV who has had his own battle with cancer, has agreed to be part of Bethie Stein’s powerful “WJ Fights Cancer Week,” Feb. 27-March 4 at Walsh Jesuit High School. Stein is a senior there, and her brother David was a 2008 graduate.

In spring 2010, David, a student at Marquette University, began experiencing unexplained chest pains that led to a diagnosis of lymphoma. His dear sister’s mission continues to be to educate others about the “traumatic effect cancer and cancer treatment has on an individual as well as their families.”

Her campaign raised more than $11,000 last year through sponsorships and student activities for the American Cancer Society.

This year, she and members of the school’s National Honor Society, faculty and administration are selling T-shirts, bracelets and CDs as part of the fundraiser during lunch hours. She also talked Rocco’s Pizza, Chick-fil-A, Handel’s and Dippin’ Dots into donating a portion of their sales to the cause.

The campaign wraps up with a Mass at 10 a.m. March 4, in the Walsh Jesuit Chapel followed by breakfast (catered by Moe’s restaurant) with guest speaker Donovan, who recently underwent a bone marrow transplant for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Katie Koblenzer Orendorf, class of 2003and director of the school’s annual fund and communications, said attendees can support the Be The Match National Marrow Donor Program and sign up to become a donor.

The breakfast with Donovan, which is open to the public, costs $10 or $20 for a family. RSVP by March 1 by visiting www.walshjesuit.org or call 330-929-4205, ext. 170. To donate to the American Cancer Society through “WJ Fights Cancer Week,” please send checks (made payable to the American Cancer Society) to Principal’s Office, Walsh Jesuit High School, 4550 Wyoga Lake Road, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44224.

A special birthday gift

Thanks to volunteers at Hugs N Bugs, a new local nonprofit with a mission of trying to reduce the suffering of those touched by childhood cancers through the use of music therapy, treatment, education and financial assistance. The group recently gave 14-year-old Nate Baker of Perry Township a special birthday lift with a massive balloon launch, organized by Nate’s great-aunt Heather Watkins.

According to Justin Olesky, vice president of the nonprofit’s board of directors, several of Nate’s school chums from Edison Junior High School and members of the school’s wrestling and football teams turned out for the pageantry.

“Nate was diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma, a cancer of the adrenal glands, in June,” Olesky said. “He has undergone several rounds of chemo and the family is exploring other treatment options at this point as the response to the chemo has been less than they had expected.”

Nate is the son of Rob and Teresa Baker.

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or emailed at jcardwell@thebeaconjournal.com.