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Kids Curing Cancer holds annual pasta fundraiser

Updated: Feb 21

The biggest event on Kids Curing Cancer's calendar was held over the weekend.

Kids Curing Cancer (KCC) presented its annual pasta dinner fundraiser Sunday night at Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery. The kids of KCC are Lauren, Kierstyn and Ty Baillargeon and they present the annual event with the aid of their family and friends.

Its roots date back 11 years ago when Lauren wanted to raise $50 when her grandfather Dan Gerard was battling cancer. After her grandfather passed away, the event carried on.

“This is the biggest event Kids Curing Cancer runs every year,” said Lauren.

The pasta dinner concludes KCC's fundraising year and they plan a cheque presentation near their grandfather's birthday, which is March 8. Proceeds this year will go to Erie Shores Health Care and its drive to purchase a new MRI machine.

“This is how we go out with a bang,” Lauren said, of the fundraising year.

Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery is undergoing renovations but allowed the KCC fundraiser this year, though it had to be scaled back from 250 people to 150 people.

“They worked closely with us,” said Lauren. “They have bent over backwards to help us out with this.”

Volunteers included friends and family and saw food donated, including the pasta and the desserts. The Baillargeon family credited Dan and Brad Sweet for their help as well as DJ Sav Asta, Mary Lippert from Sweet Moments Cookie Co. and Chef Don from 3D Catering. Staff at the winery donated their time to be there, Lauren added.

Lauren added they have shifted their focus to “get ahead” of cancer by donating to the creation of the MRI suite. That will allow for earlier diagnoses and an earlier jump on potential cancer treatments.

The South County Predators girls hockey program were part of this year's KCC fundraising program and raised $10,000 in a two-week period. Lippert presented other fundraising events including vendor markets and selling cookie kits while a major fundraiser turned out to be in local schools.

A total of 14 Essex County schools held their own fundraisers or will be holding their own events for KCC and that has raised $14,000 so far with more events to come.

“Word got out there and it exploded,” said Lauren of the school events.

Lauren recalled suggesting a “loonie license day” when she was in Grade 5 but not being able to get that off the ground. Now, things have been reversed and the fundraising is going strong.

“It's pretty cool to see that vision come to life,” she said.

A final total from the Feb. 18 fundraiser was not available as of press time.

Kierstyn said there were over 75 door prizes donated for the dinner. She pointed out $116,000 was raised in the first ten years of the event.

(The RTT has updated the web story to reflect the correct amount. It is $116,000 in ten years, not $168,000.)

Over the first decade of the event, KCC has assisted the patient assistance fund at the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation, the Fight Like Mason Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House.

Ty said the MRI machine is very much needed and will help many area families.

The Baillargeons say their family and network have grown over the years and they get a lot of help from the community.

“It's not three kids from Amherstburg anymore,” said Ty. “It's everyone.”

Kierstyn added the fundraisers have allowed them to meet new people and make many new friends.

Penny Bellhouse, executive director with the Erie Shores Health Foundation, said it is a $5 million project with the government funding helping to pay for staff and electricity while the rest has to be raised.

“This is incredibly special,” she said of the KCC fundraiser. “All of the endeavors they have taken on this year have been so impactful.”

Bellhouse said health care is a community effort.

“Anytime you can have events like this are reasons we can have health care in our community,” she said.

By Ron Giofu

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