Courage for Kennedy – Journal

November 20, 2006

Harvest of Hope and the Nutcracker

Category: Fundraisers,Gratitude – Melenie – 10:06 pm

First, I would like to share about the Harvest of Hope. As many of you know, Kennedy was very fortunate to be an honored child for Candlelighter’s Ride for a Child event this year. If that wasn’t amazing enough, she was blessed with an incredible gift by one of her riders…a handcrafted hope chest. As if the beautiful picture he took of the lone wild horse on the open prairie or “bird” who rode with him for the entire trip wasn’t enough…Larry purchased the highlight of the evening for our girl. I have saved a copy of this article to give to her when she is older so she will understand the significance of this one of a kind gift.


President’s Corner

Past President – Dick Hartung

Scenes of Hope
I witnessed the whole story unfold before my very eyes. I was there in some small way each step of the way. Yet the significance of each independent event was woven into a beautiful tapestry only after the last chapter fell into place. Though the characters are real, anyone reading this article could be that person. Perhaps you’ll see a piece of yourself somewhere in these lines.

It began in the spring as one of the many “to do’s� for the fall Harvest of Hope dinner auction. What creative piece of art could our families work on at camp that could be auctioned at the Harvest Hope? Typically the only oral auction piece of the evening, it represents the heart and soul of camp and the healing touch of collectively creating a thing of art and beauty. Each year, as one great idea gets utilized, it seems to get harder to land on that one “perfect project� for the next year.

She came up with the idea, of course. A mom, so gifted in many things, and certainly no stranger to the cares, concerns, and worries of caring for a child in need. This year we’d do a hope chest. We’d purchase a cedar chest kit and our children and families would paint each side with beautiful panoramas uniquely Oregon. Great idea, thought I, but I had no clue how we would pull that one off. Challenged when asked to draw a stickman, beautiful panoramas on a hope chest were beyond my comprehension.

I first laid eyes on it in late August, at camp. Though it was only in pieces, the top, sides, and front were no longer just slabs of wood. Etched into each surface were now the outlines of those very scenes – Timberline Lodge, Multnomah Falls, The City of Portland, and Haystack Rock. Using a burning tool and postcard images, she had etched a simple outline and patterned a color scheme that each painter, young and old, could use to create their masterpiece. The stickman master was amazed!

I was at camp the first day as children and adults contributed their Picasso skills to the project. I was a Haystack Rock contributor. Because there were no stickmen walking the beach, I gravitated to the easiest objects, two seagulls with relatively straight wings and definitely no feathers. I think I even stayed in the lines. There was much work left for the next day, but I could not stay. The next time I saw or even thought about the hope chest was on a Saturday in October, the evening of the Harvest of Hope.

The completed piece was a thing of beauty. It had been imagined by a loving mom and painted by a community of children and families. Dad had carefully fitted the pieces to form the chest, and sealed the wood to protect the surface. A dear friend, always ready to gift her time and talents to Candlelighters, had “seeded� the chest with a hand knitted comforter and warm little slippers. It was ready!

I saw the family arrive not long before dinner was to start. Their six year-old daughter Kennedy, one of our honored children, was attending as part of our Ride-For-A-Child (RFAC) awards. Precious in her pink outfit, she was shy and snuggling tight into dad’s arms. It was obvious she was not feeling well, and just as obvious that it had been a tough day for mom, dad and brother. I felt bad for the whole family, and worse when mom explained that Kennedy was ill because of her steroid treatments. I wasn’t sure they could stay for the evening, or even long enough for her to receive her award.

She made it to the awards ceremony though, and even managed a little smile as she was awarded a trophy from two of her riders. I was pleased, and hoped her family could now slip away to the comforts of home.

I lost track of Kennedy and her family and the evening passed quickly. The grand finale of the night was upon us, the auctioning of the hope chest. The bidding stalled at about $400, and I resigned myself that this thing of beauty and compassion would not fetch the millions I had envisioned. Then ……. a spark of life from one side of the room, then the other. Two RFAC riders, locked in mortal combat, were wagering toe to toe for that hope chest. $500, $600, $700….wow, I thought, this is more like it. $800, $900, $1000….how great for Candlelighters.

As the bid reached $1,100, all of us in the room finally grasped the significance of this last bid. Lifted high in the arms of her rider, the bid number was being held by none other than Kennedy! The bidding stopped, and it was clear now that Kennedy’s rider was purchasing the hope chest for her. Not only had she and her family made it through the evening, but she had been gifted the most precious item at the auction. Though I could not have imagined it months before, this chest filled with hope and lovingly crafted by so many was destined to be Kennedy’s.

There are many more “hopeful� endings to this story. All nine of our honored RFAC children were able to attend the Harvest of Hope and receive their Cycle Oregon champion trophies. In an incredible outpouring of generosity, the evening’s special appeal to financially support families in treatment raised over $21,000. RFAC announced a stunning $106,000 raised to support Candlelighter programs and services. In a touching display of caring, a guest wrote a check for $500 at the end of the evening to help pay for the hope chest that was gifted to Kennedy.

Where do you turn for hope? I see it, time and again, in the lives of our families and the incredible outpouring of care and support from the community of volunteers and donors that is Candlelighters. I believe, that along with Kennedy, you too can take a piece of her hope chest home with you.”

It was the most incredible night for us as Candlelighters has done so much for our family. Even more than having a mother who had walked in our shoes visit with us just days after Kennedy was diagnosed bearing much needed blankets and gifts for both our children. Even more than providing a fun filled afternoon at Roloff farms. Even more than offering classes about issues that we all face on this journey. Even more than getting our family tickets to events around town we could never afford. Even more than providing lunch and a shoulder to cry on in the playroom when we have spent too many days inpatient. Even more than offering financial assistance to ensure that Kennedy had the formula she desperately needed for nourishment when insurance refused to pay. Even more than helping us to provide Christmas for our children with gift cards to buy gifts, new coats and a full Christmas dinner. They always provide a hope that Kennedy will have a happy, healthy future. Candlelighters does so much for families whose children are fighting cancer. If you are thinking about contributing to a charitable organization this year (and in time for tax season) it is with all my heart that I highly recommend supporting them and all the amazing work they do. Just click on “Candlelighters” for a link to their website.

Now, I know you have all been anxiously awaiting information regarding tickets to the upcoming Nutcracker production…so here it is:

Canby Fine Arts Auditorium
Canby, Oregon
Saturday December 16, 2006
Matinee Performance 1:30 PM
Evening Performance 7:30 PM

Sunday December 17, 2006
Matinee Performance 2:30 PM

10th Year Anniversary!!!

Nutcracker Tickets

There are 5 ways to order tickets:

1. Drop Box in Studio: Fill out an order from and place it, along with payment, in an envelope. Put in the slot in the white drop box located near the entrance of the studio. Your tickets will be mailed or delivered to the studio. Please indicate your preferred method of delivery on the order form. Enclose a SASE or $2.00 P&H if you want your tickets mailed. Orders received later than December 4th and all unclaimed tickets at studio will be held in Will Call.

2. By Mail: Send your order form with payment to:

Nutcracker Tickets
P.O. Box 1924
Oregon City, OR 97045

Remember to indicate your preferred method of delivery and to enclose a SASE or $2.00 P&H if you want your tickets mailed to you. Orders received later than December 4th and all unclaimed tickets will be held in Will Call.

3. In Oregon City: Tickets will be available at The Oregon Book Company Store next to Fisherman’s Marine in the Oregon City Shopping Center on Hwy 99E at I-205. Please bring exact change in the form of check or cash.

4. In Canby: Tickets will be available at the customer service counter at Cutsforth’s Thriftway on 2nd Avenue in Canby, just off Hwy 99E. Payment methods are check or cash.

5. TicketsWest: Tickets available at all Safeway TicketsWest Ticket centers, charge by phone: Portland 503-224-TIXX, Seattle 206-632-TIXX, all other areas 1-800-992-TIXX or on the web at Tickets are subject to Convenience charge. This is the only choice if you want to use a credit card to pay for tickets. Internet and phone sales made after December 8th will be held in Will Call.

Make Checks Payable to: THE NUTCRACKER

Performance days/times: Saturday, December 16th at 1:30pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 17th at 2:30 pm.

Ticket Prices: $15.00 Adults
$10.00 Children (2-11) and Seniors (60+)

Program length: Approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes. (Includes a 20 minute intermission)

Doors open 30 minutes before the performances and there is no reserved seating.

Questions? Call (503) 594-2909

We will be at all 3 performances, so please let us know which one you will be able to attend as we would LOVE to see you there! Watch for Kennedy in Act 1, Scene 2 “The Battle.”


One response to “Harvest of Hope and the Nutcracker”

  1. Becky says:

    How did the Nutcracker go? Any photos to share? :o)

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