The 11th annual Emerald Eve to benefit The Donna M. Crandall Memorial Foundation, set for Saturday, November 19, at the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs, marks a rite of passage for Jack Cheney, 10, of Loudonville, and Ben Crandall, also 10, of Saratoga Springs.
The two are nephews of the Foundation’s namesake, Donna, and they have waited their whole lives to attend the event.
“We are pumped to be invited this year,” said Jack. “I want to see what we’ve been missing.”
“Yeah, we can’t wait to put on our suits and go be with the rest of the cousins for once,” agreed Jack.
Emerald Eve…details…this year, Jack and Ben will also be starring in the video shown during the presentation, which highlights patients who benefit from the Foundation. … Faithful sponsors include…
The cousins were not even born yet when their Aunt Donna died on January xx, 1999 of cystic fibrosis (CF). However, their parents, aunts and uncles were dedicated to keeping her memory alive and making sure they knew all about their aunt even after she was gone. To that end, they set up the Foundation to honor her.
The boys know a lot about Aunt Donna, and as it turns out, about CF, which Jack said is “a genetic disease that makes it hard to breathe and digest food.” Aunt Donna was diagnosed with CF when she was 4. Back then kids with CF typically did not live long enough to go to 5th grade, like Ben and Jack.
Today, Jack explained, because of new medicines and treatments, patients live into their 30s, 40s and “even older.”
“Having CF is a lot of work,” Ben chimed in. “Every day there were hours of treatments and lots of medicines to take. But Aunt Donna never complained and hardly missed work (at AYCO).”
Donna worried and wondered about how some people with CF could pay for all the things they needed, Jack said. “She hated to go to the hospital because it was boring and lonely.”
Today, the Crandall family works hard so other CF patients don’t have to worry about these things.
In addition to providing meaningful financial assistance to patients and their families, the Foundation provides support to CF in-patients at Albany Medical Center. Gift bags, in-room TV and phone service, a debit card to the hospital cafeteria, and gift cards for fast-food restaurants nearby, including Panera and Starbuck’s, offer a huge relief to CF patients, who often are hospitalized for weeks at a time, several times a year.
From a very early age, Jack and Ben were involved with shopping for the gift bags, which are assembled in Jack’s parent’s basement. “They help patients so they aren’t bored and don’t feel alone,” explained Jack.
The gift bags have evolved over the years: Once green paper bags, today they are canvas L.L. Bean totes emblazoned with the Foundation’s Celtic knot logo reflecting Donna’s heritage. They typically contain Nooks or Kindles and gift cards, portable DVD players and popular DVDs, Uno cards and electronic hand-held games, magazines, best-selling books, toiletries and snacks, including Mike and Ikes, Donna’s favorites. Bags are tailored to each patient’s sex and age.
Emerald Eve traditionally draws 350-plus guests and raises over $100,000. To date, more than $1.2 million has been raised, and because it is a completely family-run, volunteer-based organization, every penny is dedicated to helping CF families in need.
One of the things Ben and Jack are looking forward to the most at this year’s Emerald Eve is the legendary raffle contest the older cousins brag about every year.
“We are totally going to win,” said Jack. “Who will be able to resist us?”
Posted on: November 1, 2011