The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The fund-raiser that grew

It was a fund-raiser that grew and grew. But then, it had to. Hospital bills grow and grow too.

Jamie Lewis knew she had to do something when she heard Marlene and Dave Roberts' 4-year-old daughter Macy was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia. Lewis formed a team to organize a Halloween event for kids and adults. Supporters flocked to the idea. Christ Lutheran, Jackson, Wis., the Roberts' congregation, sponsored the event and 198 area businesses provided food, equipment, door prizes and silent auction items.

Lewis was amazed at the reaction from media, businesses and the community, saying, "Their hearts go out to something like this happening to a little girl."

More than 200 children came for afternoon activities, with just as many adults joining in evening fun.

Since the diagnosis last June, Macy's routine includes daily pills, twice weekly chemotherapy and a hospital stay every three weeks.

Although the Roberts are insured, the out-of-pocket costs for the two and a half years of treatment will total at least $15,000. Add to that prescriptions, trips to the hospital and Marlene having to quit her job to care for Macy.

The committee exceeded its goal of $20,000 when two chapters of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans offered $5,000 each in matching grants.

"They're your typical up-and-coming family, working hard and trying to save some money, and then this diagnosis comes along and it's a real dose of hard reality," says Bill Gruenstern, their pastor. "Their faith is very important to them."


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