MICHAEL JOHNSON/Livingston County News
Coast Professional’s vice president of Operations Roxanne Baker (left) poses with the ceremonial check that was donated to Ellen Dellapenna and her son Griffin who were representing Carly’s Club.
Coast Professional donates to ‘Carly’s Kids’
Coast Professional, Inc. of Geneseo presented a check for $3,545 to Carly’s Club on Tuesday, July 14. Receiving the gift was Ellen Dellapenna representing Carly’s Club and Ellen’s son, Griffin, who recently celebrated his fifth year being cancer-free.
Griffin was diagnosed with leukemia at age three-and-a-half. His mother related how the situation uprooted the family from their Batavia home and brought them to Roswell, where Griffin needed to stay for treatment.
“Carly’s Club brought us in and did things that made a tough situation a little bit easier,” Ellen related. “It is something that has changed our lives completely.”
“For children undergoing treatment for cancer, and for their families, Carly’s Club offers a social dynamic of treatment. A lot of time the kids can’t go to school because they are in and out of the hospital so much. Carly’s Club gives them — and their families — things to do,” Ellen explained.
The total amount of the check represents the individual contributions of nearly all of Coast’s 80-plus employees, in addition to a contribution from the company itself.
On a once-every-two-month basis, the employees vote to contribute to a charity of their choice. Beside adding its own cash component to the gift, Coast offered incentives to its employees, whose donations ‘purchase’ their right to wear jeans to work throughout the coming month.
Ellen related that Carly’s Club was the creation of a 10 year old girl who, in 1994, had lost both parents to cancer. She was taken in by friends who encouraged her to do what she felt would make her feel better — which in Carly’s case was helping other kids who were afflicted by the cancer which took her parents.
Carly’s first efforts were modest: raising money to have a party for kids in the hospital. But the idea grew rapidly to encompass any child undergoing treatment at Roswell, as well as the child’s parents and siblings.
Sadly, Carly herself, afflicted with a brain tumor, died at a relatively young age, but her organization lives on, perpetuated by the family who took Carly in.
Through Carly’s Club, Griffin has enjoyed experiences which kids don’t usually get to do, such as hanging out with Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller and Bills Rian Lindell and Brian Moorman.
The entire family has enjoyed bowling and video game parties and trips to Darien Lake, as well as, on occasion, separate activities for adults and kids, “and they make it affordable when you are financially struggling with medical bills,” Ellen noted.
For the Dellapennas, Carly’s Club has been there for Griffin, his mom Ellen, father Matthew and older sister Allison through his treatments and afterwards.
“It’s a wonderful thing and something we’ll continue to be a part of as long as they’ll let us,” Ellen said. “It’s important to be able to speak with other parents because you need to hear what is going to happen. Once you are a member, you always are a member. They bring us all together so you feel that support of each other.”
Most alumni members who have passed age 18 come back as volunteers, Ellen reports.
Carly’s Club, with only two paid employees, is able to use most of its revenue directly for support of children and their families.
The organization has recently been looking to expand by establishing connection at the Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester.