A mother’s battle of persistence
Every week in December, The Eudora news will publish a list of contributors to Eudora Cares, a special fund set up to support community charities. This week, we look at the Brooke O'Grady Foundation. Please support any worthy philanthropic efforts by sending checks to: Eudora Cares, c/o The Eudora News, 1402-B Church St., Eudora, KS 66025.
It's been four months since Judi O'Grady's daughter, Brooke O'Grady, died from cancer at the age of 15. Since then, little has changed in Brooke O'Grady's room. The bed is neatly made, stuffed animals are in place and things look close to normalthe way it was before she became sick with an illness that took her life on Aug. 3.
Another element that remains unchanged is the courageous spirit of persistence. Just as her daughter fought a battle against cancer which spanned nearly five years, Judi O'Grady is determined to press on.
"(Brooke's) thing was, there's not enough research for kids," O'Grady said.
Picking up where her daughter left off, the survivor has started a foundation dedicated to funding children's cancer researchThe Brooke O'Grady Foundation.
O'Grady, and friend, Jeanne Siebert, have bound together in the fund-raising effort. The two have made bracelets with two different designs, one for $25 and the other for $30. The bracelets include charms, the name of a survivor or loved one who passed away and can also include the birthstone. The different prices are for the different variations of the bracelets.
"Our initial thought was for people who have lost a child," Siebert said. "But, they're for anyone."
O'Grady said she hopes to display placards advertising the bracelets in hospital gift shops, businesses and any venue that will let the foundation display them.
"Everywhere we can get the word out," she said. "That's what we are shooting for."
O'Grady and Siebert are also planning fund-raisers to help the foundation, so all money made from the bracelets can go toward financing children's cancer research. One fund-raising event scheduled is a golf tournament at Oak Country Golf Club in De Soto April 19.
The intent is to take the money raised from the bracelet sales to help the Foundation for the Children's Oncology Group, formally known as the National Childhood Cancer Foundation. The Children's Oncology Group is one of the leading supporters of childhood cancer research and helps 230 hospitals nationwide treat more that 40 percent of children with cancer.
Siebert said her hand in getting the foundation off the ground is her way of remembering Brooke O'Grady and her constant desire to do more for those with cancer, especially children.
"She was so empathic about other people's painanybody's," Siebert said. "The thing I think is unique is taking the pain of losing Brooke and channeling it into something positive."
And for O'Grady, starting the foundation has kept her busy, which has been helpful in the healing process of losing her daughter.
"It's keeping me going," she said. "If I wasn't doing this right now, I don't know what shape I would be in."
For more information on the Brooke O'Grady Foundation, call (785) 542-2208.