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Dinner with a mission; teen won’t face cancer alone

November 14, 2012

While many 13-year-olds are focused on school, extracurricular activities and social media, Christine Gorr has more serious matters on her mind. The granddaughter of former Town of Highland supervisor Allan Schadt, Christine has been diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer that is now threatening other organs in her body.

It’s precisely the kind of situation that prompted the creation of Neighbors’ Helping Hand (NHH), a community-based organization founded in 2011 to provide help to neighbors when they need it most. Launched in support of two children battling cancer in the Town of Highland, Aiden Hanley and Autumn Carlucci, the organization has since helped more than 10 families in the town and surrounding areas.

NHH raises funds through an annual walk and softball game, along with other initiatives such as this year’s “Pink Flamingo Flocking.” Now, NHH is organizing a spaghetti dinner slated for November 16 in support of Christine, who has begun traveling to Westchester, NY for chemotherapy. All proceeds will go to Christine and her family to help defray uncovered costs, such as those associated with travel.

NHH developed its mission “to promote and protect the well-being and health of our neighbors through hard work and generosity,” after noticing the tremendous support the community lent in the past when one of the group’s founders, Yulan Fire Department chief Keith Blaut, was battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Blaut’s wife, Meg, a chief organizer of the dinner, said she is confident the community will step up once again. “Christine’s mother, Amanda, is an Eldred graduate and her grandmother, Alice, works at the school. For years, her grandfather was our town supervisor and the entire family has been very active in the community,” said Meg. “We’re already getting lots of support from other community organizations and businesses, so we expect the dinner to be a big success.”

The dinner will be held at the town hall in Eldred beginning at 4 p.m. on November 16 and includes pasta, meatballs, salad, bread and dessert. Meals are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Takeouts are available. Donations may also be sent to Neighbors’ Helping Hand at P.O. Box 183, Yulan NY 12792. For more information, contact town clerk Doreen Hanson at 845/557-6085.