Aug 30, 2021
AUSTINTOWN Local Relay for Life Team M&M The Flamingo Mafia and the Ice House Inn are joining to present a family friendly even Sept. 19 to raise money for the families of two area children battling cancer. Dozens of businesses, entertainers and volunteers have signed on to help.
The day-long Family Fun Day will feature live bands, comedians, food vendors, an auction, childrens activities (dunk tank, bounce house, etc.) and more.
Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for children 12 and younger. There is no admission charge for children under 3.
Advance tickets are available at the Ice House Inn, 5516 W. Webb Road, Austintown, or by calling Rosa at 330-559-0465. Tickets also will be available for purchase at the door the day of the event.
Nora Sabella, 7, and Joey Gaskell, 4, each went through rigorous treatments after their initial diagnoses only for their families to later learn they had both relapsed.
So many of us have personally experienced the devastating impact cancer has on families. For these families to go through everything theyve already been through only to face this all over again is unimaginable, said Tracy Greene, member and spokesperson for Team Flamingo Mafia.
Our team wanted to do something to help anyway we can. One way is to try to alleviate some of the financial burden, if we can, to allow them to focus on taking care of their children and each other.
Nora, a student St. Charles School, lives in Boardman with her dad and mom, Jeff and Amy Sabella, her big sister, Nina Sabella, and Pickles the dog. She is battling relapsed neuroblastoma.
She was first diagnosed with Stage 4, High Risk Neuroblastoma on Jan. 29, 2018. She went through six cycles of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, 12 radiation treatments, six courses of immunotherapy, and many surgeries at Akron Childrens Hospital. She finished with frontline treatment March 24, 2019.
Nora immediately started a vaccine trial at Nationwide Childrens Hospital. After nearly two years on the trial, a lesion was found in Noras abdomen during routine scans.
On Nov. 23, 2020, Nora had a second tumor resection surgery, and the family was devastated to learn that she had relapsed. While small, the lesion was attached to her renal artery and renal vein, making it impossible to remove 100 percent. Nora started chemotherapy and immunotherapy the following week.
As of April this year, she had completed five cycles and there is still a tiny spot visible with subtle growth. So Nora started an intense chemotherapy regimen on April 28. She had a reaction to one of the chemotherapy drugs the second day and coded after becoming unresponsive. But the toxicity was quickly reversed with medication.
Another cycle of intense chemotherapy followed. Scans showed no change, and it was decided to do surgery. This surgery was originally to remove her kidney, but the surgeon was able to remove the tumor and save the organ.
After a two-week recovery, Nora started her third cycle of intense chemotherapy in combination with radiation treatments. Scans are planned for four weeks after her last radiation treatment.
Nora said she hopes the bad guy is gone and that shell be considered in remission. With remission comes another year of treatment at Memorial Sloan Ketteringin New York City for a vaccine trial process that will take approximately one year to complete. The family will have to travel to NYC up to 10 times in that year. The vaccine trial is to help her body learn to fight the neuroblastoma on its own.
Joey lives in Austintown and is the son of Todd and Jessica Gaskell. He wasnt attending school but hopes to start this year.
He was diagnosed with pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in October 2018 at just 18 months old. His initial treatment was supposed to be about two years but two weeks before the end of his treatment, it was discovered he had relapsed in his central nervous system.
Joey is currently in remission again after an intensive first month of relapse treatment followed by fout months of frequent hospital stays, clinic visits for chemo and transfusions.
His current relapse treatment plan will consist of intensive chemo and radiation for about one-and-a-half years with a lot of hospital stays.
We just hope to see the community give these children, these families, the support they desperately need, said team co-captain Rosa Sheets. Any and all proceeds from this event are going directly to these two families. We appreciate any help and support people in our community and beyond can and are willing to give. It will be a fun-packed, family- and kid-friendly day.
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