BUFFALO, N.Y. - 5-years-ago, Erin Matthewson had her world turned upside down. At age 9, she was diagnosed with Rabdomyer Sarcoma, a soft tissue cancer around the eye. Her mom, Nancy, said it was devastating. They have had cancer around them and Erin knew what cancer was, so did her 2 sisters. Unfortunately, none of those people survived their cancer and so when Erin and her sisters heard it, it was just, it was devastating. Erin and her mom spent the better part of 2 ½ years in and out of hospitals. This was hard on the whole family. Her two sisters had to drop out of sports activities and their grandmother moved in to their house to take care of them.
Although Erin described the hospital as “depressing” because she couldn’t see the people she loved. Still, she tried to stay positive saying “It was a difficult journey, but you just had to keep positive and you knew you would get through it”.
Then, one day in the hospital, a Charity called “Flashes of Hope” offered her a free photo shoot. She was really excited about taking pictures just for fun. It lifted her spirits and it really made her more of a positive person. Nancy said Flashes of Hope gave Erin a chance to feel good. To feel special. They helped her, she didn’t have any hair, but they sort of combed over the little that was there and they touched up her eye make-up a little bit so that she could feel a little special and when you look at the pictures, you can just see how special she felt. Her favorites are the pictures of Erin and her sisters together. They were taken in the hospital, but you can’t see the look of the hospital in their eyes. You see happy to be together, you see having fun, you see “I feel good, I feel special”. You don’t see the sickness in those pictures.
Allison Violante, the Buffalo chapter director says watching the kids and families is Magic. You take a child who does not feel well, does not want to get out of that bed and suddenly they are a little model. They are having their own day, their own fun, their own fashion shoot and they are full with energy. And you don’t see that child feeling sick.
Flashes of Hope touches more than just the cancer patient’s lives. Elaina Monte is a local family court attorney. She is a sponsor of the 3rd annual Flashes of Hope fundraiser. When asked why she chose to sponsor the event, she said “As a family court attorney, I deal with families every day on a different level and I wanted the option and the opportunity to give back in a different way. “
Sara Borland, a kitchen designer for Kinetic Kitchen and Bath got involved 3 years ago when Allison came in to get a new kitchen. Sara and her boss knew that this was a charity they wanted to be involved with. They hold the annual benefit at the store every year. The money raised will be donated to Roswell Park Cancer Institute to help childhood cancer research. Nationally, only 4% of money donated to cancer research goes to pediatric cancer research.
The fundraiser is Friday night, October 7th from 4-8pm. It is being held at Kinetic Kitchen and Bath, 1655 Fashion Outlet Blvd, Niagara Falls, NY. Admission is $20 at the door. There will be lots of great raffle items including: a $5000 Cambria counter top, a HDTV, a Sabres jersey, raffle baskets, a wine pull and many other great items. There will also be food and a dj. If you can’t make it to the fundraiser, you can also donate online at: www.flashesofhope.org.