Sullivan County Democrat
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Helping Amy

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 – she’s been through months of radiation and lost part of her right leg to amputation.
But insurance doesn’t cover the cost of driving every day to Westchester Medical Center. It doesn’t pay for pads for Amy’s crutches or modified children’s toys to help her work around her amputated leg.
And it doesn’t pay for watching your child cry in pain.
“On rainy, nasty days, she’s in a lot more pain,” Lori Paes said. “And when she’s in pain, she’s awful.
“She doesn’t 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 they’re just really trying to make her comfortable – I can’t even imagine that being my child,” he said. “The cancer thing, especially with kids, gets me.
“Most things people worry about aren’t important.
“This is.”
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 Amy’s stepdad, Joseph Camisa, and Amy’s dad, Ron Paes, have been using the community’s support to make their daughter’s 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 wasn’t for them, I don’t know how we’d 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.

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