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‘Dancing for Savannah’ to benefit family of 3-year-old fighting cancer

A special fundraiser, to defray medical expenses for a little girl with a local connection, will be held Oct. 20 at the Polish American Citizens Club.

The event, starting at 8 p.m. at the 515 Granby Road (Route 202) club, benefits Savannah Myrick, 3, of Aurora, Colo.

The child’s grandmother, Pam Skiba of South Hadley, reports that the child has undergone a bone marrow donation to combat neuroblastoma, a rare and aggressive childhood cancer that is attacking Savannah’s immune system.

Skiba said tickets to “Dancing for Savannah,” which includes snacks, a raffle and music from Joey Canata and the Memories, are $20 per person. All proceeds will be donated to the Myrick family and “tickets are selling really well,” she said.

“The whole purpose of holding the event is to offset the costs of her treatment,” said Skiba, referring to the ongoing medical expenses of Savannah’s parents, her daughter Mariah and son-in-law Justin Myrick of Arvada, Colo.

Savannah was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in March. She has been hospitalized periodically since then at Aurora’s Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy and surgery to remove a stomach tumor. Savannah has undergone grueling chemotherapy treatments to prepare for the bone marrow transplant, which occurred Sept. 20, two days before her fourth birthday, her grandmother said.

Mariah Myrick reports her daughter “is still in good spirits and not complaining” following the transplant and is “so excited” at the prospect of birthday cake.

Chemotherapy has suppressed Savannah’s immune system so her body can accept the bone marrow and, because of this, her parents have limited the number of visitors to protect her against infection, for the four to eight weeks she is expected to remain there, Skiba said.

“There are six family members who are rotating turns visiting her,” said Skiba, a Wilbraham resident for 20 years who moved to South Hadley after living in Colorado for several years.

“I really wanted to live in South Hadley. I love the town,” Skiba said.

Savannah’s older sister, Izabella, 7, spent the summer visiting South Hadley, Skiba said. Izabella has been encouraging classmates in Arvada to hold fundraisers, including “Hat Day” at school where they could wear hats to class by donating $2 each, and cancer-awareness events.

”Bella’s been doing a lot of things for her sister, like showing kids that her sister is just like all the other girls, she just doesn’t have hair,” Skiba said. “They’re really close.”

Savannah’s mother reports that the family “will be hanging out, just the four of us, for Savannah’s birthday.” Skiba said South Hadley residents have been supportive of efforts to raise money for Savannah.

“People have been incredibly kind,” she said. The Oct. 20 fundraiser promises to be good entertainment for a good cause, she added. “We’re going to have fun,” Skiba said.

For information about Savannah and the South Hadley fundraiser, visit www.savannahmyrickshope.org.

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Columbus Day tag sale

The South Hadley Falls Neighborhood Association is holding its first-ever Columbus Day next month, the town’s biggest tag sale weekend.

Donations of household items will be welcomed by the group to sell on Oct. 7 and 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Deadline for donating is Sunday. (The group is finalizing a location for its sale.)

To arrange donations, email the group at falls.neighbors@gmail.com or call 437-0405 to make arrangements for drop-offs.

The group will accept items in salable condition, but excludes the following: large furniture; TVs, computers, monitors and other electronic items that cost money to recycle; paints or hazardous materials; large appliances such as refrigerators; cribs and playpens, due to changing safety standards; or broken items.

The group can also use volunteers to staff the sale or donate baked goods, which will also be sold.

Community cleanup

Another event scheduled for Oct. 20 is “Make a Difference Day,” when a community cleanup is planned by the South Hadley Falls Neighborhood Association. The group will meet at 9 a.m. on Main Street, across from the Egg & I restaurant and proceed to a designated location. (Rain date is Oct. 27.)

The goal is to clean up the neighborhood: picking up trash, pulling weeds, beautifying public spaces and helping neighbors with yard work.

Areas of concentration include sidewalks, storm drains, the Beachgrounds and riverfront, Canal Park, the former Fibermark and new library sites.

Volunteers should bring their own gloves and rakes, brooms, clippers and power tools.

RSVP via email to: falls.neighbors@gmail.com or call 413-437-0405.

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