PCFLV 2018 Gala
The Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley (PCFLV) raised around $150,000 at the nonprofit’s Hearts of Gold Gala Nov. 10. Guests decked out in tuxedos and evening gowns enjoyed cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a live auction of children’s artwork conducted by auctioneer Jason Douglas Houser. The stylish fundraiser was held at the Centennial Catering and Conference Center in Center Valley.
Guest speakers included actor-director Daniel Roebuck and teenage cancer warrior Jared Dowling. B104’s Mike and Steph emceed the celebration. DJ Keith provided dance music.
Roebuck spoke of how he “fell in love” with the PCFLV while working on filming “Getting Grace” in the Lehigh Valley. The indie comedy/drama starring Roebuck as a funeral director and local actress Madelyn Dundon as a teenager battling cancer premiered in theaters in spring 2018 and is currently available online and on DVD. Roebuck said, “Sam Edwards, our producer, felt strongly that we needed our story vetted by people who have lived through and experienced this dilemma.” He added, “Without them [PCFLV], it wouldn’t be the movie it is.
“Their mission is so important,” said Roebuck about the services PCFLV provide to children and families facing pediatric cancer. He encouraged those present to continue supporting the nonprofit organization.
Sixteen-year-old Dowling credited his parents with providing him with the mantra that helped guide him through his cancer treatment. “They told me that ‘God never gives you more than you can handle.’” He said that statement changed his whole outlook on the situation. Dowling said he decided right then, “I was going to beat this!”
Dowling related that after experiencing frequent nosebleeds six years ago, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Fortunately, he has been in remission since June 2015. The Dowling family became aware of the PCFLV through the clinic where Jared was receiving treatment.
After speaking about how music plays a major part of his life, the young musician performed a selection composed by Handel on his alto sax.
The Freedom HS junior is an honor student who plays saxophone in the marching band and string bass in the school orchestra, among other extracurricular activities. Dowling also serves as president of the PCFLV Teen Board. The young scholar wants to attend Villanova or the University of Pennsylvania to study law or finance. Jared is the oldest of four siblings: Gianna (age 14), Johnathan (age 12), and Grace (age 7).
PCFLV volunteer Tiffany Wilkens purchased the first piece up for bid, Jared Dowling’s “Hope in Music,” for $1,400.
At $5,100, “Believe” by Bryce, a 5-year-old battling recurrent brain cancer, scored the highest bid for children’s artwork. The colorful acrylic on canvas featured a silhouette of Mickey Mouse. According to the posted artist’s statement, “Mickey Mouse is his best friend.” Bryce’s family requested privacy regarding their last name.
Other items up for bid included “Sunflowers,” an oil painting by Banana Factory artist Lauren Kuhn, which fetched $1,300. Kuhn had been working on the painting throughout the evening’s event.
Also, up for bid or purchase were gift baskets donated by area businesses and individuals, bottles of wine, as well as centerpieces created by The Glass Studio located in the Banana Factory.
Executive Director Michelle Zenie said she was thrilled that 320 people attended the evening’s celebration and fundraiser. “We have 37 children in the Lehigh Valley diagnosed with cancer since January 1,” she said, “We are here to support those families.” She informed the audience that she is a “cancer mom” herself and introduced her son Cole as a cancer survivor.
Zenie also mourned the recent deaths of six children registered to PCFLV, including 14-year-old Wyatt Newhard, whose funeral took place Nov. 9.
Jim and Janelle Massey, the parents of 5-year-old Jillian, another young cancer warrior casualty, were presented with the Heart of a Warrior Award by Zenie. She also gave the grieving couple a portrait of their late daughter painted by Lauren Kuhn.
Land Rover Allentown, a part of the Bennett Automotive Group, was the event’s presenting sponsor.
Additional sponsors included Brooklyn Bred, Adams Outdoor, PPL Center, ArtsQuest, ASR Media, B104, Volpe’s Sports Bar, Stortz & Associates, Lehigh Valley Health Network, AmericaVen, and Stillwell-Hansen Inc.
PCFLV is a local nonprofit, dedicated to providing services and programs to local pediatric cancer patients and their families, along with bereaved families.
For information, visit pcflv.org