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Community News

Family touched by show of support

1/3/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The Dec. 21 event at Arrowhead Primary School helped show support for the Calderone family, of Copley. Shown above, from left, are Alex, mom Michele, Abbey, dad Ken and Megan Calderone.
Megan Calderone, 18, of Copley, and Lauren Nervo, 18, of Stow, shown above, from left, headed up a project as Team Abbey to make blankets for the Ronald McDonald House of Akron in honor of Megan’s sister, Abbey Calderone.
Photos: Krista Galloway
COPLEY — A special event to help the Ronald McDonald House of Akron also turned into a show of support for Copley High School student Abbey Calderone and her family.

Among those who came out to support Team Abbey for the project were members of the Copley-Fairlawn Middle School eighth-grade girls basketball team. Shown above left, from left, are Danielle Ester, Kiley Blachaniec, Tamia Parent, Mia Barker, Armani Jackson, Elena Neal, Grace Restivo, Nicole Hunter and Majesti Brown.
Abbey Calderone, 16, is shown above, at center, surrounded by friends and supporters who came to an event Dec. 21 to make blankets for Ronald McDonald House of Akron.
Abbey, 16, was diagnosed with bone cancer last summer, according to her mother, Michele Calderone, and since then has spent a lot of time at Akron Children’s Hospital.

“She was dancing up until the end of June, when she had knee issues and was diagnosed,” Michele Calderone said. “She had chemotherapy through the summer, and on Oct. 8 had surgery for a knee replacement. It was pretty extensive. Now we’re doing more chemotherapy and physical therapy and getting her back on her feet.”

Michele said she and her husband, Ken Calderone, who is on the Copley-Fairlawn City Schools Board of Education, have been by Abbey’s side through much of the past few months. But one day in the fall they had to be somewhere and had Abbey’s sister, Megan Calderone, and her friend, Lauren Nervo, of Stow, stay with her at the hospital.

While there, they met some of the children on the floor and one, in particular, who they learned had family that was staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Akron because they live so far away. Megan didn’t realize the home was there to provide housing in cases such as this.

“She wanted to make Christmas special for all the people that had to be there,” Michele Calderone said. “So she reached out to ETC Show Choir and it grew from there to Copley, to the choir department and band department and teachers at the high school and middle school.”

Megan and Lauren decided it would be nice to have blankets for all the families, so they decided to host an event to create blankets at the Calderone’s home Dec. 21 for Team Abbey. When interest began to increase, Arrowhead Primary School Principal Andrew LaBadie offered the use of the school’s gym for the event instead.

Those who attended helped create more than 40 blankets for donation. In addition, Michele Calderone said cash and gift cards totaling about $2,000 were collected. All items were brought to the Ronald McDonald House the following day, she added.

“We had four carloads of donations,” she said, noting that many also donated items on the home’s wish list like paper towels and nonperishable food items.

Michele Calderone said Abbey also enjoyed the event and it helped the family to see such support.

“It’s helped all of us, being able to give back,” she said. “We feel very fortunate for how much support we’ve been given from the community. It’s been huge.”

She added the family plans to continue to support the Ronald McDonald House. Anyone who would like to donate items or money to the house for Team Abbey may contact the Calderones at 330-666-9346.

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