Newtown residents Lisa Pollock and her husband George had a healthy son up until 2005 when he suddenly felt very ill.
"My son was fine one day and the next day he was so sick. He had a bad headache, chest pain and swollen glands," Pollock said. She brought her son Zach to the pediatrician who did blood work and "they knew almost immediately something was wrong," she said.
That something was called Acute Lymphostic Leukemia (ALL). Zach was nine years old when he was diagnosed with the disease, which is a type of blood cancer. Other names for ALL are acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute lymphoid leukemia, according to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
According to their website, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society stated that about 5,330 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with ALL in 2010. It is the most common type of leukemia in children under age 20. Most children with ALL are cured of their disease after treatment.
Southbury residents Justine and Gordon Frisbie's son Nolan was just five when he was diagnosed in 2005 with ALL. Frisbie, like Pollock, said her son "was fine one day and the next day he was screaming in pain." After 36 hours in the hospital he was diagnosed and began treatment immediately.
The two mothers met at the clinic where their sons were being treated and bonded as they went through their battle together. While at Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, the mothers said The Tommy Fund was there for them every step of the way.
"They were there for me for financial support, emotional support and to let us know that it would be alright," Frisbie said.
The Tommy Fund for Childhood Cancer works to support families in the pediatric oncology section of the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. They conduct research of childhood cancer and support families throughout a child's treatment.
Frisbie said fortunately she did not have to quit her job to bring her son to treatment but was very glad that the Tommy Fund paid for all of her parking expenses while at the hospital.
Both boys underwent three-and-a-half years of treatment and are now in remission. Every other month they go for a follow-up visit to make sure the cancer is still in remission.
Zach, now 14, is a freshman at Newtown High School. Ten-year-old Nolan is now a fifth grader at Longmeadow Elementary School in Middlebury.
The two mothers' inspiration for the fundraiser was of course their sons and wanting to "give back" for all the care and support they received.
Mark Fancher, owner of Shakespeare's Garden, donated his facility to host last year's event and has happily agreed to do so again this year. Last year the event raised over $23,000. The goal this year is to top that. They are hoping to raise $25,000, all of which will go directly to the Tommy Fund for research to find a cure for the disease.
Wines 'n' Such generously donated wine for the event. Brookfield resident Scott Leandra, owner of Vroom Service Now, is donating his food delivery services free of charge. Various restaurants in Newtown, Southbury, Danbury and Brookfield have donated food for the event, including 189 Sports Café in Brookfield.
The Second Annual Uncork a Cure beer and wine tasting will be held at Shakespeare's Garden, 25 South Obtuse Road Brookfield, this Saturday September 18 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The fundraiser will include a beer and wine tasting, a wide variety of food, and an auction.
Tickets are $50 and there are still a few spots available. For more information contact Justine Frisbie at GJFrisbie@sbcglobal.net.
If you would like to make a donation to The Tommy Fund, please click here.