2016 coming soon
2015 ABBY FURCO & RYLIE RICHARDS
The parents of these two amazing girls have been friends for over 15 years. Due to both of their fathers being in the military, they were not always able to stay in touch. They recently were both living in the D.C. area and ran into each other, discovering both of their daughters were both battling this terrible disease. Since then, they have spent a lot of time together and Rylie & Abby have become the best of friends. Currently they reside in different states, but still continue to stay in touch via text and Facetime.
Abby is a spunky 9 year old who has been through more in the past 4 1/2 years than most of us will endure in a lifetime. Abby was initially diagnosed with PH+ ALL (Philadelphia Chromosome Positive ALL – Leukemia) at age 4 and relapsed at age 7 1/2, just 11 months after her initial treatment protocol ended. Since relapse in September 2014, Abby has had an unrelated donor bone marrow transplant in January 2015 and is still currently enduring side effects from that. If it weren’t for pediatric cancer research, we wouldn’t have Abby here with us today. Abby’s medication kept her hard to treat cancer in remission for over three years, and upon relapse, Abby still had the option of a transplant. This was not a road the family wanted to go down but were grateful the option was available. Throughout transplant Abby has endured several side effects which were life threatening, but due to current childhood cancer research, trials & treatments available. Cancer research is the reason Abby is alive today and her family is dependent on it.
By the time Rylie, who is affectionally called “Roo”, turned six, she had moved three times and see her dad through four overseas deployments. Life as a military child can be difficult, but it made Rylie a strong, caring and optimistic individual. In many ways, these lessons prepared her for the most difficult challenge in her young life. in April 2012, Rylie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia which had infiltrated into her central nervous system. Doctors told her family that treatment would last over two years and include chemotherapy as well as radiation. During the initial days of treatment, Rylie’s physical appearance changed dramatically as the chemotherapy killed not only the cancer but the normal, healthy cells as well. Despite feeling very tired and losing all of her hair, Rylie’s spirit soared and all those wonderful personality traits she already possessed grew exponentially.
2014 AARON WOOD
A friend of Jarrett’s since high school, Aaron Wood has always been supportive of Jarrett and his work. Despite the challenges he has faced in his own life in recent years, recovering from a spinal injury in 2009, Aaron has not changed who he was as a friend and individual. Staying in touch via Facebook over recent years, he has regularly been the first to congratulate Jarrett on any success and offer feedback on the wedding films produced by Jarrett’s company, Films by J. Inspired by the tenacity Aaron has shown for life and his continued recovery, it was an easy choice, and honor, to choose Aaron as the beneficiary of the First Annual Judy’s Elves Foundation Gala. We are grateful to be allowed by Aaron and his family to share his story, and even more honored that we can assist him financially, while keeping Judy’s tradition of helping others live on.
In August 2009, while vacationing in Wildwood,NJ, Aaron Wood hit his head on a sandbar, broke his neck, and was immediately paralyzed from the chest down. Transported to a trauma unit in Atlantic City, he underwent surgery and was placed on a ventilator. He was removed from the ventilator in February 2010 and has remained ventilator free ever since. Aaron has participated in an aggressive therapy program at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury (ICSCI) at Kennedy Krieger in Baltimore. He works on a home therapy program ICSCI developed for him. Initially diagnosed as an “ASIA A”, the worst possible injury (ASIA E indicates normal function), he has progressed to “ASIA C”. This means that his body is trying to recover the neurological connections it needs for his muscles to work again.
ICSCI is a one of a kind, cutting edge program, only partially covered by Aaron’s insurance, so he incurs a good bit of out of pocket expenses. Much of the costly therapy and equipment Aaron needs is not covered at all. Aaron‘s wheelchair currently needs to be replaced. He recently had to replace the part of his chair that he uses to control the chair’s movement. Insurance did not pay for that; the cost was $2000. The new wheelchair Aaron needs assists him to rise to a standing position. This is beneficial as Aaron suffers from blood clots in his legs and standing and putting weight on his legs helps his circulation. Aaron’s road to recovery is a long one and there are no guarantees. We thank you for standing with us in faith, prayer and support of this fundraiser so that we may assist with, and continue to hope for, Aaron’s recovery.