Copley Grad Honors Sister's Battle with Cancer by Giving Back to Ronald McDonald House
Megan Calderone's sister Abbey was diagnosed with bone cancer this summer and now she wants to find a way to give back this holiday season.
When the Calderone family found out their youngest member Abbey, 16, had cancer this summer, their world stood still.
"We were all shocked," said Megan Calderone, Abbey's sister and a Copley High graduate. "It came out of nowhere. It's not hereditary or anything."
The sisters were at a dance class when Abbey began complaining about a pain in her knee. In the Calderone household, the cure for that was to ice it. But when the pain didn't go away, and Abbey's teacher expressed concern, Abbey and her family went to the doctor.
Abbey was diagnosed with bone cancer.
In October, doctor's removed Abbey's knee and part of her femur, Megan said. With four rounds of chemotherapy left, Abbey is attending physical therapy to get used to walking on a bionic knee. Megan says the goal is to have her up and dancing again by next year.
To honor Abbey's battle with cancer, and after learning about families who won't get to be home for the holidays because a loved one with cancer can't be away from the hospital, Megan wanted to find a way to give back.
"I saw a little girl riding around on a John Deere tractor when I was visiting my sister at the hospital with my friend Lauren Nervo. Her brother was a cancer patient," Megan said. "When her dad told her it was time to go to the Ronald McDonald House, I looked it up to see what it was."
The Ronald McDonald House is home to cancer patients whose families live too far away from a hospital.
"It kind of stinks that a family can't be home for the holidays so I wanted to do something to make it better," Megan said. "We're having a fundraiser called 'Team Abbey Holiday Huddle' at Arrowhead to make blankets, crafts and cards for families at the Akron Ronald McDonald House."
Everyone is invited to help, Megan said. The fundraiser starts at 6 p.m. tonight and will go until 11 p.m. Megan asks that those who attend donate an item from the Ronald McDonald House Wish List, which can be found here.
If you bring toys for a child, do not wrap them. If you choose to donate food, make sure it's in individually wrapped packages.
"Abbey and I are members of the ETC All-American Show Choir and since I had so much support from them, I wanted to get this together," Megan said. "And it's grown into this huge thing. It's really neat."
A group of kids from Copley High School's choir and band will also sing Christmas carols in Abbey's neighborhood for donations on the same night.
"My sister is the strongest person I know," Megan said. "She gets up in the morning and acts like nothing is wrong. I'll complain about my stomach hurting but then I look at her and tell myself to suck it up."
She added, "I enjoy giving back, it makes me feel so good. The world could be a better place if more people just tried."