My sister Andrea is part Mary Poppins, part MacGyver with Moves Like Jaggar. She is organized, energized, a true Virgo and I am proud to call her my little sister. I’m not featuring Team Joey in my first Fundraiser Spotlight because my sister Andrea has incriminating photos: I’m featuring Team Joey because my sister, Andrea Brookshore, is one of Joey’s Angels.
A Community Comes Together
Joey’s Angels is the team behind the scenes, organizing the activities of Team Joey; a small community in upstate New York, that has come together to raise funds and help eleven year-old Joey’s family pay for his life saving medication and expenses. Joey’s Angels organize events, make phone calls, inventory donations and keep Team Joey running like a well oiled machine of love and support to Joey’s family. Joey’s Angels know the well being of his family is just as important as his cancer treatment.
Falling Through the Cracks
In addition to Joey’s diagnosis, his parents Holly and Ben, were devastated to learn their insurance only covers $5,000.00 of prescriptions each month. Joey is in stage 2A of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. That means Joey has “involvement of two or more lymph node regions.” (National Cancer Institute). The urgency for treatment is obvious, but at $3,500.00 per dose, Joey’s chemo is the tip of the iceberg. Joey’s family has to travel three hours one-way for treatment, while maintaining two incomes to put food on the table and keep their house and manage a “gift with purchase”: The overwhelming worry of loosing a child and brother to cancer.
Joey’s Angels, have taken the Team Joey Facebook Community, from zero to 486 likes as of 10/18/2012 at 9:29pm- less than three weeks after launching. But this Facebook page is about more than just getting “likes”. This page is filled with the pictures and prayers of a small community working hard to lighten the load of one family. There are pictures of the recent can drive, items for raffle and updates about Joey’s progress.
What strikes me most about this community is watching human beings at their best during the worst of times. There is nothing fun about watching a family cope with cancer, but I see a community “Dancing in the rain.” And this Saturday, dancing is exactly what will happen.
This Saturday, October 20, Team Joey is dancing in a Zumba Fundraiser for Joey’s treatment and family’s expenses. There is nothing more painful to a parent than the helplessness of watching your own child fight for his life. But because Ben, Holly, Hanna and Joey have the support of Team Joey, I have unyielding hope this family will prevail intact. The load of things like expenses will be lightened by the help of their community, giving the family time to focus on each other, where their strength is needed most.
Holly, Joey’s mom, is a Zumba instructor and while she is at home with Joey and my nephew Oliver, her teaching partner, Dani will be leading over 300 people in a Zumba class with Holly’s husband Ben and their daughter Hannah. In this way, the community will be putting their minds and bodies in the game, if only for 90 minutes. Nothing is more powerful than souls coming together in dance. Humans have been doing it for millennia for a reason. It’s not just 90 minutes of dancing; it’s 90 minutes of empowerment that will strengthen the bond of this community. There will still be still more work to do when the music stops, but for 90 minutes, more than three hundred people at a school auditorium in Upstate New York, will cry out in one loud voice “No!” to the cancer in Joey’s body. Dancing in the rain of tears, prayers and love.
You and I may be reading about Team Joey a few thousand miles from the Zumba Fundraiser this Saturday, but we can help through the power of social networking. Share this story. If 500 people read this post and 100 of them can kick in $3.00 each, that’s $300.00. Imagine what could happen if 500 people share Team Joey’s page. There is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Visit and “like” Team Joey’s FaceBook page and see how you can make a big difference with a small donation. If you live nearby, you can participate in the Zumba Fundraiser, upcoming spaghetti dinner, raffles and events in the works. Joey’s fight has just begun. Please join Team Joey and make a difference.
About Childhood Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, treatment and prognosis: National Cancer Institute http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/childhodgkins/Patient/page1
Treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: Livestrong
When your child has cancer: The American Cancer Society
A unique resource for cancer: Cancer 101