Maddie Tomasko is a fighter. The 11-year-old Rockford resident was diagnosed with Leukemia back in April. She has already undergone chemotherapy and this week she returns to the hospital, after a brief stay at home, to begin her next step in recovery, a bone marrow transplant. Maddie’s family members were tested to determine if one of them could be a donor, but unfortunately none were a compatible match. Maddie’s doctors then turned to the National Bone Marrow Registry and a match was found! Maddie will get a second chance at life through this donor, but not all are that fortunate. There are many across the country just waiting for a match and a cure. Because of this, Maddie’s mother Cheryl will be hosting a bone marrow drive in her daughter’s honor, with help from MI Blood and Sugar ‘n’ Spice Creamery. The drive will be held this Saturday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Sugar ‘n’ Spice Creamery on Belding Rd. in Rockford, next to the Citgo gas station. The process to join the registry consists of simply meeting the general requirements, completing a registration form and health questionnaire, and then a cheek swab (no poke). No appointment is necessary and you must be between 18 and 60 years old to join the registry. Through the help of Cheryl’s friends and the generosity of various local companies, funds have been raised to help offset the cost of this drive, which is typically $25 per donor. Currently, the first 44 people will be able to join for free, but donations from those still willing to give will be accepted, enabling even more to join by “paying it forward.” The goal is to raise enough funds so that no one is deterred due to the cost. One of Cheryl’s friends, Sandra Mellema, whose husband is now a cancer survivor thanks to a bone marrow transplant, said, “The day of my husband’s transplant, the nurses told him it was his new birthday. We celebrate that birthday now just as much as his real birthday. This September my husband will turn 9, and in October, 37. His being with us today is such a blessing and a miracle. My five-year-old said it best while we were […]
June 16 2011
Michigan State Police trooper Kevin Sweeny invites area youth to get a jump on summer fun and enjoy a day of activity and refreshments with officers of the Michigan State Police, Rockford Police Department and the Kent County Sheriff. The seventh annual Rockford Area Kids Triathlon will take place at Rockford High School on Saturday, July 9. The triathlon consists of seven age groups so youngsters from age zero to 17 can participate. The cost of participating is just $20 and includes a t-shirt and lunch after the event. The community policing event is designed as a fun day to promote healthy lifestyles as well as an opportunity for local kids to meet and play with law enforcement officers. According to Sweeny, it is a favorite event that officers look forward to each year. The course varies according to age groups so even the youngest kids have a great time and are able to complete the event. Oldest kids swim 200 yards in the Rockford High School pool, bike six miles and run three miles. The youngest swim one length of the pool, run 100 yards, and bike 100 yards. Bike helmets are required. To sign up or for more information, pick up a flier at the Rockford Police Department or the Michigan State Police post in Rockford or fill our the form online at www.rocktri.com. All participants receive medals, certificates and top three performers in each age group receive awards. Proceeds benefit the D.A.R.E. program and the Michigan State Police Explorers.
Rockford church youth make clean sweep during SOS Celebration by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Perhaps the most popular of all of the events hosted by the City of Rockford, the Start of Summer (SOS) Celebration kicked off the summer vacation season this past weekend with a jam-packed three days of festivities. There was something for everyone. Thousands of people flocked downtown to enjoy the traditional Saturday morning SOS parade, food booths galore, a great touring carnival, fireworks, musical entertainment, and a humongous beer tent sponsored by the Rockford Lions Club. Needless to say, all this daily fun and frolic left in its wake a sea of trash on the streets and in the parks of the downtown area and along the entirety of the parade route. Did you ever wonder who cleans up the litter created each year during Rockford’s annual SOS Celebration? Enter the high school and college age youth of Rockford United Methodist Church (RUMC). SOS, now in its 43rd year, has for the past 10 years used the outreach services of the youth that comprise the RUMC Trash Team. Polly VonEschen, organizer of SOS for the past 24 years, said, “The RUMC Trash Team is the very best ever at what they do.” Working quietly behind the scenes, almost unnoticed, the RUMC Trash Team manages to repeatedly empty trash barrels along with picking up every discarded French fry, cigarette butt, candy wrapper, beverage container—you name it, they pick it up! By last Sunday evening, at the festivities’ close, the RUMC Trash Team had used well in excess of 200 60-gallon trash bags to contain discarded refuse. Immediately after Saturday morning’s SOS parade, the RUMC Trash Team “swept” the entire parade route. From start to finish they picked up every single piece of debris that inevitably follows in the wake of a parade, especially one that freely dispenses candy and treats to eager children in the crowd of spectators. Ruth Reickard (a.k.a. “The Trash Lady”) oversaw 30 high school and college age youth along with 14 adult crew leaders that comprised nine clean-up crews. Over the three days of the SOS Celebration, each crew worked a three-hour shift, some starting as early as 6:30 a.m. and others ending as late as 10 p.m. […]
Photos by GEORGIA DONOVAN Youngsters enjoyed the many free activities at this weekend’s Start of Summer (SOS) Children’s Tent in downtown Rockford. Organizers work hard to make sure the town’s biggest summer festival is family-friendly, and the many smiles at the tent prove their efforts are successful. Isaac Walton League president Georgia Donovan submitted these photos of kids having a blast and would like to remind all that there is another opportunity for outdoor family fun coming right up. On Saturday, June 18, the local Ikes invite the public to enjoy the club’s facility at 5641 Myers Lake Road (just north of Cannonsburg Road) for SummerFest, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be beverages, free fishing in the stocked pond with help and supplies provided, archery and much more.
Sara Kraus, a second-grader at Lakes Elementary School in Rockford, cut off eight inches of hair, which was donated to Children with Hairloss. They will use her donated hair to make a wig for a child in need. Sara wanted to help out another child because she wanted other children to have pretty hair and be happy. It took Sara a little over one year to grow out her hair. In her free time, Sara likes to read, play outside and swim.