We have an update for you about one of our extended family, Kezia Fitzgerald, whose daughter Saoirse was killed by a rare form of cancer last year after a courageous 9 month battle. Kezia & her husband, Mike, took up the fight against Neuroblastoma and created the Fitzgerald Cancer Fund. September has been Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, but even prior to that they’ve been very active. “We are really focusing on finding better ways to treat Neuroblastoma – focusing on non toxic and targeted options, rather than systemic chemo and radiation,” Kezia says. “We hope to spread awareness, as well as raise much-needed funds for less toxic treatments and trials. All of the current drugs used in ‘standard’ treatment are drugs developed over 30 years ago for adult cancers. We will change this. The next program we will be working on is grants for parents, but it is still in process.”
In the meantime, Kezia and Mike have come up with a product that will hopefully make hospital patients a little more comfortable during their struggles. Their experience with Saoirse inspired Kezia to invent CareAline – a band of stretchable cloth sewn as either a sleeve (for the arm) or wrap (for the chest), with a hole and a pocket for a PICC or central line. Initially, Saoirse would tug at her own PICC line and it would irritate her skin where it was attached with tape. “I took out my sewing machine and some cotton fabric,” Kezia recalls, “and made this little sleeve with a pocket that I thought could hold the line in place without having to tape it to her skin.” The family has gone through several different designs, has filed for a patent and is building a business to market them.
Right now, Kezia and Mike are preparing for their next big fundraiser, an Arts and Artifacts Auction that’s coming up between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They need 2D and sculptural art, as well as collectibles (sports memorabilia, small antique items, classic/antique toys). The auction will be held online. You can find out more at their website.
There are also items for sale that benefit the fund. Plunkett Designs sells Fitzgerald Cancer Fund wish bracelets on Etsy.
In the fund’s website shop, there are Euro Charm Bracelets – a bangle style bracelet with 6 charms. Each charm represents something about Saoirse and Neuroblastoma. Either of these items would be great gift ideas for the upcoming holiday season, as well as a way to support a worthy cause