Volunteer group Bay Ridge Cares raised thousands of dollars for Sally “Sunshine” Noel Kabel, a 13-month-old local girl struggling to overcome leukemia.
Doctors diagnosed the baby girl with the disease three months ago. Thanks to speedy medical attention, Kabel’s cancer is currently in remission — but she has years of chemotherapy and steroid treatment ahead of her.
Fund-raiser organizers came across young Kabel’s story on the Bay Ridge Parents Facebook page — and were eager to lend a hand.
“We want to make the neighborhood a better place,” said fund-raiser coordinator Kristen Pettit. “We decided we wanted to help this family.”
Pettit said Kabel’s parents were overjoyed at the group’s offer to help, and asked only that the fund-raiser include kid-friendly elements. Bay Ridge Cares decided to include children’s games and activities, and asked Third Avenue’s Wicked Monk to host the Oct. 5 event in its backyard.
Pettit said the group was initially reluctant to hold its benefit on the same Saturday as the beloved Ragamuffin costume parade, but then realized that the time and place would be just perfect, as families would be passing the Monk as they left the cavalcade.
“Someone proposed the date, and we thought ‘oh no, that’s the day of the Ragamuffin Parade,’ ” recalled Pettit. “Then we thought ‘oh, yes.’ ”
Third Avenue toy store Kaleidoscope set up games for kids to play, while other children made “get well” cards for Sally at a crafts table. Adults played a 50-50 raffle, and donated money at the door. Leading donors included the Brooklyn-based changing-table-and-bathroom-finding app Mommy Nearest, and Ridge mom Camille Loccisano — who founded anti-cancer fund Frankie’s Mission after her son, Francesco, died of leukemia in 2007.
Pettit said getting to be around Sally Noel’s sweet and sunny personality made the effort all worth it.
“She’s a very smiley and happy girl,” said Pettit. “We’re really glad we were able to help her and her family.”
Ridgites Justin Brannan and Karen Tadross formed Bay Ridge Cares in 2013, to help the family of Robert Howe — a leading local attorney and president of the Third Avenue Merchants — after his home burnt down. The group formed a soup kitchen in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that prepared 26,000 meals for victims of the disaster.
“Bay Ridge comes together like no other place on Earth,” said Brannan