Going gold

Photo by SCOTT KRISKA

Jennifer Kilbane and Mayor Dennis Hanwell held a ceremony at the Public Square gazebo informing local residents of the Keira Kilbane Foundation and its toy and food drive. Six businesses in Medina and one business in Lodi will collect toys and non-perishable food items to donate to the pediatric cancer inpatient unit at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

MEDINA – The Keira Kilbane Foundation took to Public Square the weekend of Sept. 15 to decorate the square in gold.

Throughout the weekend, visitors could see golden bows and balloons placed in recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This was part of the foundation’s second annual Going Gold for Cancer Awareness campaign.

Additionally, on the Friday before, a ceremony was held at the gazebo to inform local residents about the foundation’s efforts, including the start of a toy and non-perishable food drive taking place during the remainder of September, with which Camp Quality Ohio will be partnering with the foundation.

Mayor Dennis Hanwell joined foundation co-founder Jennifer Kilbane in spreading the word about this effort.

“We want to help fund childhood cancer research,” Kilbane said. “We also want to help support patients and families that are going through childhood cancer.”

Kilbane founded the Keira Kilbane Foundation in 2014 with her husband, Brian, shortly after their daughter, Keira, passed away at the age of 3 ½. Keira was only three months old when she was diagnosed with leukemia.

“We want to help fund research so no other child has to go through this,” Jennifer said.

The toys and food items will be donated to the pediatric cancer inpatient unit at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. Those interested in contributing can drop off donations at seven local businesses that will be participating in the campaign. The participating businesses include Medina City Hall, 132 N. Elmwood Ave.; Medina Library, 210 S. Broadway St.; Cool Beans Café, 103 W. Liberty St.; Astro Computers, 500 S. Court St.; The Book Store, 109 W. Washington St.; St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 606 E. Washington St.; and Hello Beautiful Salon and Spa, 711 Bank St. in Lodi.

Kilbane said she wants this campaign to inform others about childhood cancer and about the Keira Kilbane Foundation’s mission to fund research.

“Childhood cancer is really underfunded with research,” she explained. “Only 4 percent of the federal budget goes to childhood cancer research. Our kids shouldn’t be dying because of this. We need better options.”

The toy and food drive will end Sept. 30. More information on the Keira Kilbane Foundation, including information on how to donate to the cause, can be found at keirakilbanefoundation.org.

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