Stoney Creek Students Raise over $25,000 for Classmate Fighting Cancer

When Sam Kell was diagnosed with brain cancer last fall, he could not have predicted the outpouring of support that he and the New Day Foundation for Families would receive from his school and community this year.  From his baseball teammates to student organizations, from donations of teddy bears and blankets to week-long charity fundraisers, the students at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills have come together in Sam’s name to raise more than $25,000 for the New Day Foundation for Families during this school year alone.

Sam Kell

Sam Kell

As a local non-profit based in Rochester, the organization’s mission is to reduce the effects of financial toxicity and have a positive impact on treatment outcomes and survivorship through financial assistance and emotional support programs for cancer patients and their families.

With absolutely no encouragement or requests – yet plenty of gratitude – from New Day, the students have organized two 5K runs (one organized by student Jaden Vaught raised $6,600 and the other by the Key Club raised $2,600), a Hockey Blackout game, blankets made by the National Business Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society, a Teddy Bear toss by the basketball program, a fundraiser by the baseball program with Romeo HS, and a full week of charity events with New Day Foundation as the recipient. 

“This school and these kids have been AMAZING!!!!,” said New Day Foundation co-founder and executive director Gina Kell Spehn. “Let’s show them some love!”

5-K run and raised $2,600 for New Day

5-K run and raised $2,600 for New Day

This groundswell of support is also evident in the enormous amount of followers (more than 5,000) on the Pray for Sam Kell Facebook page, where his mother, executive director and co-founder of New Day Foundation Gina Kell Spehn, writes of Sam’s fight against cancer with candor, perspective and enduring faith. This is not Gina’s first experience with cancer, having lost her husband Matt to the battle before founding New Day with her current husband, who lost his wife to cancer near the same time.

When the cancer door flung wide open on us again last November, thousands of you charged through wearing the “armor of God”, waving banners of hope, and armed with prayers and, well, food. We were flooded… completely, overwhelmingly flooded… with so much of every good thing, that cancer was minimized in light of the love that burst through the door, cut cancer off and said, “Excuse me! Back it up because our love is bigger and stronger and cancer does not rule over God’s peace. So neener, neener, neener.”

Back Row: Mrs. Peck, Joyce Yu, Paula Prost, Melissa Ruprich, Jo Long, Asha Raghavan, Kacey Howe, Hunter Paul, Mr. Rizzi; Front Row: Katie Garity, Jessica Yin, Rachi Willard, Monica Fan, Jahnari Amam

The Key Club – Back Row: Mrs. Peck, Joyce Yu, Paula Prost, Melissa Ruprich, Jo Long, Asha Raghavan, Kacey Howe, Hunter Paul, Mr. Rizzi; Front Row: Katie Garity, Jessica Yin, Rachi Willard, Monica Fan, Jahnari Amam

Sam is a member of the basketball and baseball teams at Stoney Creek HS.  He continues to receive treatment for his brain tumor while attending school and participating in sports.  He has undergone surgery and in mid-April, Sam started a new form of treatment called Optune, which is made by a company called Novocure. It’s not a drug, but a device. It attaches to his head and he carries around a 6 1/2 pound battery pack everywhere he goes. The device was approved by the FDA last fall and Sam is one of the first few pediatric patients to use this device. At the same time we are beginning this new form of treatment, he is also pursuing genomic sequencing of his tumor at Mott Children’s Hospital, which has revealed information that gives doctors more treatment options to use along with Optune.  Sam’s second MRI on May 19 showed no signs of new tumor growth.

For more information about New Day or to volunteer for the auction committee and fundraising events, please visit the website at www.foundationforfamilies.org.

New Day is Different from other cancer charities…

  • We help families facing ANY type of cancer
  • We help real families, parents and children. Immediately. We value and support research, but that’s not our mission.
  • It’s personal. Cancer has touched the lives of every New Day board member, staff and volunteer.
  • We make personal contact with each family we serve
  • We have a professional counselor and social worker on staff
  • We offer emotional resources in addition to financial resources
  • We provide customized care packs (grocery and fuel cards, school supplies, books, resources, etc.)

New Day Foundation for Families, a 2016 Top-Rated NonProfit by GreatNonprofits and Silver Level Guidestar organization, is a Rochester, Michigan, nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the effects of financial toxicity and emotional stress caused by cancer. Their programs are created with the intention of having a positive impact on treatment outcomes and survivorship. New Day offers financial grants in the form of temporary bill payment services, as well as emotional support programs for families who have children under the age of 18 in the home as they face the burdens that accompany the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. 

 

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