By Jeanne Sager
NEVERSINK July 4, 2003 It takes a village to raise a child, and when it comes to a youngster fighting cancer it takes a whole community to get through the pain.
Since 10-year-old Amy Paes was diagnosed with epitheloid sarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer, last August, everyone from Neversink firefighters to Tri-Valley business leaders have opened their hearts and their wallets to help her get through.
A benefit basketball game was held as a fundraiser for the family. The Future Business Leaders of America sponsored a blood drive in her name.
And every bit of the money has gone to help a girl with a bright spirit and sparkling eyes stave off the pain of losing her childhood.
Paes mom, Lori, said they have Medicaid and supplemental Child Health Plus to cover the costly medical procedures that the Tri-Valley fifth grader has undergone in recent months shes been through months of radiation and lost part of her right leg to amputation.
But insurance doesnt cover the cost of driving every day to Westchester Medical Center. It doesnt pay for pads for Amys crutches or modified childrens toys to help her work around her amputated leg.
And it doesnt pay for watching your child cry in pain.
On rainy, nasty days, shes in a lot more pain, Lori Paes said. And when shes in pain, shes awful.
She doesnt eat well, she vomits the morphine can rip you up inside.
Watching that is awful for any parent.
And it pushed John Whiteman, a Woodbourne resident who attends Calvary Baptist in Loch Sheldrake the Paes church to action.
Whiteman has put together a barbecue, set for Sunday, July 6, at the firehouse on Route 55 in Neversink to benefit the family.
Whiteman has two children of his own including a daughter close to Paes age.
Now theyre just really trying to make her comfortable I cant even imagine that being my child, he said. The cancer thing, especially with kids, gets me.
Most things people worry about arent important.
Whiteman hopes the family will be able to use the money on a trip to Disney World, funded by the Make a Wish Foundation.
Other funds will go to help the family cover various costs.
Lori Paes and Amys stepdad, Joseph Camisa, and Amys dad, Ron Paes, have been using the communitys support to make their daughters life as easy as possible. Monies donated earlier in the year were used to buy her a special bicycle that she can use despite her leg so she can keep up with her sister, three brothers and foster brother.
We want to keep her as normal a child as we possibly can, Lori noted.
The Tri-Valley community and school has been very supportive, she continued. If it wasnt for them, I dont know how wed do it.
To support the family, stop by the barbecue Sunday after 5 p.m.
There will be hot dogs, burgers, chicken, steak, snacks and more.
The cost will be $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 14 and free for kids 5 and under. Advanced tickets are suggested, but there will still be some at the door. For more information, call 436-4438, 985-2534 or 985-7410.