Tag Archives: sacred heart

Brave Flushing girl, 7, fights brain cancer


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Danielle Chase

Danielle Chase was taking photos at a baby shower in early August when she noticed that when she asked her 7-year-old daughter Izabella to smile, only one half of her mouth was moving.

“Izzy, why aren’t you smiling?” Chase recalls asking her daughter over and over again before the little girl told her, “I am, Mom.”

That, combined with a bunch of recent stumbles and unusual clumsiness, prompted the Flushing mom to take the second-grader to the hospital .

“Never in a million years did I think they were going to tell me she had brain cancer,” Chase said about the heartbreaking moment when doctors at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center discovered a Grade 1 cancerous tumor.  “Everything moved really fast after that.”

On Aug. 3, just two days after taking Izabella to the hospital, the doctors attempted to remove the tumor. Sadly, they couldn’t get all of it. A piece was left too deep in the brain for surgeons to reach without risking brain damage, her mom said.

Instead, Izabella needs a scan every two months to monitor the tumor, which they fear will continue to grow and require treatment. She also has a shunt in her brain that releases spinal fluid into her stomach, and she has to deal with the loss of sight from the surgery.

“I felt like I was ice skating on one foot,” Izabella said, describing the clumsy sensation she felt before the surgery. “But now I feel like I’m ice skating on two feet and I’m slipping everywhere.”

Chase, a single mother who had to quit her job to take care of Izabella, is overwhelmed with medical bills and the family has an online fund for donations. Chase will hold a charity event at Tequila Sunrise on Nov. 16 to raise money for Izabella’s medical bills.

“If I ask people for anything, I ask them for prayers first before money,” Chase said.

Izabella had to be taken out of her school, Sacred Heart Elementary School in Bayside, because of her severely reduced vision. She will be starting home schooling soon and Sacred Heart’s administrators have been very supportive, according to Chase.

Izabella says she wants to be a surgeon when she grows up and help little kids like herself. Every once in a while she thinks back to early August.

“And she tells me, ‘Mommy, remember that brain ball they took out of me. I’m going to take it and send it straight to hell,’” Chase said.

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Courier brings holiday cheer, toys to kids at Queens Centers for Progress’ Apple Preschool


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER

Santa brought smiles and of course toys to the good boys and girls at Queens Centers for Progress’ Apple Preschool in Jamaica for The Queens Courier’s annual holiday gift drive.

Ringing his bell and calling out a jolly “ho ho ho,” some of the kids were a little shy of Old Saint Nick, but most of the around 90 students were excited to see him and receive the donated toys on Friday, December 13.

The Apple Preschool program offers children with disabilities between three to five years old a large variety of educational and therapeutic services, including speech, occupational and physical therapy and counseling. The children interact with special education teachers and clinicians who work on language skills, cognitive, motor and social development. After participating in the program, the majority of the children become integrated into the public school system.

Toys were donated to The Courier’s holiday gift drive by Courier readers and advertisers as well as from Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, who also received a donation for the drive on behalf of Boy Scout Troop 49 of Sacred Heart in Bayside, and Victor G. Mimoni, director of communications for Councilmember Dan Halloran, who additionally gave a generous toy donation.

“A lot of these kids come from low-income households. This extra little treat means a lot to them and their parents,” said teacher Missy Karvecky.

She prepared her class for Kriss Kringle’s visit by reading them a book about Santa called It’s Christmas David.

The day was extra special for Tommy, 3, who was also celebrating his birthday Friday, and had just joined the Apple Preschool program two weeks earlier.

“This is the happiest I’ve seen him,” said his teacher, Julie Fidelman.

“It was wonderful to see [all the kids’] faces light up after they saw Santa,” she said.

Another student, Jayden, 4, was also happy to see Santa and looking forward to going home and racing his new toy truck.

“I loved it,” he said. “I’m going to tell my mommy [about Santa’s visit].”

 

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Bayside kicks off holiday season


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Michael Pantelidis

Bayside residents and community leaders rang in the holiday season by lighting up the neighborhood.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) and Bayside Business Association (BBA) hosted their annual Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting ceremony on November 29 at the BBA headquarters, located at 41-16 Bell Boulevard.

“This marks the start of the holiday season for Bayside,” said Judith Limpert, president of the BBA. “It is a beautiful village atmosphere here. I think today we are all way too dispersed and focused on things that aren’t relevant. Community and family are very important. We also hope to get people to understand that Bayside has a beautiful shopping strip. They should come here first, because they can probably get everything they need for their holiday shopping. The point of this event is to attract Baysiders to come out.”

Holiday lights were also recently installed by the Bayside BID above all the blocks of Bell Boulevard.

“This event only comes once a year, and it really is the beginning of the holiday season and the biggest season for businesses and restaurants here on Bell Boulevard,” said Gregg Sullivan, executive director of the Bayside BID. “Events like this and our street lights really improve business enormously and highlight Bayside.”

The neighborhood organizations were joined at the event by Councilmember Dan Halloran, Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, Father Brosnan from Sacred Heart Church, Father Byrnes from All Saints Episcopal Church and of course, Santa Claus.

“The celebration of light over darkness is what these holidays are all about,” said Halloran. “These lights symbolize that.”

During the ceremony, visitors were serenaded with Christmas carols, and children had the opportunity to tell Santa what gifts they wanted waiting for them under their tree this year. After the lighting, attendees were invited out of the cold and inside the BBA headquarters for hot chocolate and snacks.

“This is a wonderful event for [my goddaughter] to see the tree with all of this nice lighting,” said Rose Lynch, a Bayside resident for 45 years, who brought her goddaughter, Ashley, to the lighting ceremony. “It is a nice introduction to the holidays with spirit. I think this is a cute idea to come and meet Santa in a unique way, which is individual and small. It is delightful.”

Turkeys and trimmings delivered in Middle Village


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Five families got an early start to a happy Thanksgiving, as turkeys complete with trimmings made their way to their front doors.
Courtesy of the newly-formed Middle Village Kiwanis Club, 30 turkeys were collected and distributed to local churches, two homes in Ridgewood and three in Middle Village on Tuesday, November 22.

“It was overwhelming and over-joyous for the families and even for myself. They were very grateful,” said Al Gentile, treasurer of Middle Village Kiwanis and chairperson of the club’s food drive committee. “We began to talk about everything under the sun — their trials and tribulations that are going on right now. They were very appreciative to get this help.”

Gentile said some of the families even tried to convince the Kiwanis Club to give the help to more needy people instead of them.
“It was just an unbelievable story. These are cancer victims, some of them are unemployed. It was very rewarding to know that they were going to get the baskets,” he said.

According to Middle Village Kiwanis boardmember J.P. Di Troia, the bulk of the birds will go toward Sacred Heart Parish’s food pantry, while others will be donated to Our Lady of Hope Parish, St. Matthias Parish and other local food drives.

“We’re Kiwanis. That’s what we’re about. We help the community and we help families — anybody in need. We’re ecstatic,” said his wife, Tina Di Troia, the first Middle Village Kiwanis president and longtime member of several Kiwanis’ in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The brand new group — which will be officially installed and chartered on December 7 — already is 29 members strong, and the numbers will only be growing, officials said.

“We’re finding that everyone is looking for us to join, to help us and to do more for the community, especially the children,” Tina said.
Middle Village Kiwanis members personally delivered the turkeys — and a basket of stuffing, cranberry sauce, canned vegetables and pudding — to the doors of families and local churches.

“It’s very exciting for all of us involved,” J.P. said.