shine a light. grow a community. pay it forward.
July 15th, 2013 by

Wow!!! Where to start? Yesterday was such a mix of emotions. Such a rush of adrenaline to see friends, family and total strangers along the parade route supporting the cause, sadness because I hate the reason we do this and also know McKenna would have loved it, gratitude for everyone involved and those that stopped by the booth after to donate or just share their stories.

Let me dwell for a moment on the gratitude bit. We have so many people to thank for making yesterday a reality.

First and foremost, our utmost gratitude to Lisa Roberts for having the vision and seeing it through to the very end. She put in countless hours in planning, design and coordination. Not only did she promote awareness for pediatric brain cancer, we even won 3rd place overall in the parade!!!

To the Tijuana Dogs – what can we say. You rocked the parade and I am pretty sure they will be talking about this one for a long time to come. To Ken Todd for float construction and design- we thank you and your entire family for being there through thick and thin. Roxann and Art Ciancio for all of your support always. To John Brunton for donation of the flatbed, and our driver and his wife for donating their time. And finally, to our“Butterfly Brigade”, thank you for walking and supporting the foundation. It was with pride that we watched McKenna’s classmates, friends and family bringing awareness and work to make a difference in others lives.

I would like to think that McKenna was there yesterday, and though I don’t know if I believe in signs, this one was pretty hard to ignore. As the float came to a stop at the end of the parade, with the gaggle of kids still standing behind, a large monarch butterfly swooped down over the kids heads, up to the float, circled once and flew away.  All of the kids were pointing and yelling “look!” I think McKenna was saying thank you.

 

June 1st, 2013 by

Nicole St. Laurent, a senior from Edison High School, who has known McKenna since about 5 days after she was born, asked if she could do her senior project for the CIBACS program in honor of Macky.  She then proceeded to put together an amazing comedy night featuring Dave Coulier (from Full House) and Rick Brodt.  With more than 200 people attending, the night was filled with friends and laughter, two of Macky’s favorite things.  Through her hard work, Nicole raised a breathtaking $14,000 for pediatric brain cancer research.

May 5th, 2013 by

A huge thank you to all who came out to celebrate Cinco de Macky at the Waterfront Beach Resort with us.  Over 400 people were there support the fight against pediatric brain cancer.  With some yummy food by Rubios, some great mariachi music, and tons of crafts for the kids, not even a few sprinkles could dampen the enthusiasm.  Inside the tent, there was definitely some competitive bidding and manuevering going on, as well as some great tunes by Coastal Access, Rayan Mustafa, Nelda Alvarez and her ukelele all-stars, as well as Zach Mustafa, Sophie Roberts and Jordan Wetzel.

Our gratitude knows no bounds as all of you managed to raise over $40,000 dollars that day. None of this would be possible without the support of the Hilton Waterfront, our friends at Chevron, and the many gracious silent and live auction donors.  We are surrounded by giving hearts and because of you we are moving incremently closer to a cure.

 

September 3rd, 2012 by

Every year for the past 17 years, the Blatt Family has hosted an annual camping trip. At
first it was just a few couples and newlyweds, but over the years the “Beach and Surf
Classic” has grown to include over 30 families with all of their children. This is a
summer-time tradition that all the kids have grown to love, and McKenna was no
exception. All year long, both my girls would look forward to the long weekend of surf,
sand, snipe hunts, smores and tree swings. The Blattʼs have done a wonderful job of
creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Last year, the Beach and Surf fell just a few weeks after losing McKenna. I did not want
to go because I thought the memories would be too painful. At the last minute, I
relented because it meant so much to Jordan to be there. You see, although some of
us only see each other this one time a year, this diverse group of families has, in a way,
become Ohana (Hawaiian for family). We have watched our children grow up together,
supported each other in good times and bad. Last year was no exception. Our Beach
and Surf Family embraced us with open arms, cried with us, laughed with us, and
shared their memories of McKenna with us. They also held a bike auction and donated
the proceeds from the camp out (which usually go to support the Surfrider Foundation)
to brain cancer research before McKenna Claire Foundation was even a reality.

This year, the families of Beach and Surf held McKenna in their hearts once again. Not
only did they donate the proceeds from the camp out, but also held a 50/50 raffle. A
special thank you goes to the Kollar family, who proceeded to donate their winnings
back to the foundation. All in all, the Beach and Surf Classic raised $1050 for the
McKenna Claire Foundation.

The Wetzel family thanks each and every one of you. You are a wonderful example of
what we mean when we talk of “building communities” in our mission statement and we
are so fortunate to be able to call you Ohana.

August 20th, 2012 by

The McKenna Claire Foundation has announced a $70,000 donation to Dr. Michelle Monje’s Laboratory at Stanford University.

From our press release…

The current donation of $70,000 will pay the second half year’s salary as well as provide much
needed financial support for new in vivo experiments being conducted to test various drug
combinations on live DIPG tumor cells growing in the environment of the brainstem. Each
such experiment costs between $10,000 to $15,000 per drug combination. Already much has
been learned from the donated tumor cells and there is hope that soon this new knowledge will
open up new treatment options for children currently or net yet diagnosed with DIPG. Says Dr.
Monje, “There has been progress made in the [initial] drug screening that will likely become a
clinical trial within a large national consortium.”

It has been a busy year for the Foundation, and thanks to our supporters and partners we have had a number of successful fund raising events that have helped to make this donation possible.

Again from our press release…

The funds donated to the Monje Lab were raised through various foundation fundraisers such
as a local high school volleyball event, a Slip n Slide a Thon, “Cellabrations” and the 2nd
Annual Party with a Purpose which was held this past May and raised over $54,000. Another
major source comes from the support received through a recent partnership with Chevron
Corporation, whose Southern California stores sponsored a fundraising campaign during the
month of May, pediatric brain cancer awareness month, raising a staggering $293,000. Future
fundraisers are already planned, including the first annual MCF Golf Tournament to be held at
Tijera’s Creek Golf Course on October 12, 2012. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are
still available. Interested persons can learn more by visiting the foundation’s website at
www.mckennaclairefoundation.org. Similar to previous fundraising efforts, proceeds will go
towards funding medical research for a cure for pediatric brain cancer.

Click here to read the full press release.

August 7th, 2012 by

Thanks to all the kids who chose to shine so brightly and help bring awareness to pediatric brain cancer.   Stand up & shine lemonade stands were spotted  in Massachusetts, Alabama, Colorado, Las Vegas,  San Diego, San Fernando Valley, Huntington Beach, New Zealand, and communities around the globe.

July 9th, 2012 by

All during Brain Cancer Awareness Month in May, The McKenna Claire Foundation was proud to partner up with The Chevron Corporation.  The results of that partnership were nothing short of amazing.

From our press release:

Chevron Corporation presented a check for $292,466.21 to the McKenna Claire Foundation as part of the company’s commitment to building healthier communities.  The check presentation took place at CHOC, the facility that treated McKenna during her courageous fight against Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an inoperable, and currently non-survivable, form of brain cancer.

Southern California Chevron customers generously donated at company convenience stores during Brain Cancer Awareness Month in May. All proceeds will go directly to support the Foundation’s mission to cure pediatric cancer by raising awareness, increasing community involvement, and funding research.

We were touched not only by the enthusiasm and spirit that the Chevron employees put into this effort, but also by the overwhelming generosity of the Southern California Chevron customers.

 

“The support from Chevron customers gives hope, where there previously was none,” said Kristine Wetzel, McKenna’s mother and co-founder of the Foundation.  “Researchers are continuing to distribute cell lines originated from McKenna’s tumor and this donation will allow us to continue supporting their research.”

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