River Cities

Miami Springs takes on childhood cancer with charity event

Chad Carr, left, and Daniella Collazo. The charity event in Miami Springs is dedicated to these two children.
Chad Carr, left, and Daniella Collazo. The charity event in Miami Springs is dedicated to these two children.

A charity event dedicated to two children battling cancer will take place 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Curtiss Parkway Pedestrian Pathway in Miami Springs.

The event, called Childhood Cancer Charity Event (the Biggest Yard Sale!) at the Miami Springs Farmers Market, will be the combination of the usual farmers market and a yard sale.

The event is also dedicated to the global fight against childhood cancer, in addition to the two children, Daniella Collazo and Chad Carr.

Elaine Martin, two-time cancer survivor and fundraising chair for the Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, helped start the event.

“Back in April when we completed the Relay for Life, a number of us said it would be nice if we could figure out a way to do something special that would help support those two small children directly,” Martin said.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in our town that doesn’t know about these two kids,” Martin added.

Daniella was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at age 22 months and has undergone many treatments. Now 3, she shows no evidence of disease. Her parents established the Team Daniella Foundation at www.teamdaniella.org and are actively involved with the cancer event.

“We opened the foundation to help families dealing with what we have been faced with,” said Daniella’s mother, Dania. “Unfortunately, some families don’t have a foundation. We provide that help for them.”

“To hear that an adult has cancer, it’s heartbreaking. To hear a child has cancer, it’s even more heartbreaking,” she said.

Chad, 4, was diagnosed with DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma) when doctors found he had a brain tumor. His parents established the Chad Tough Foundation, www.chadtough.org, which supports research of pediatric brain tumors. Carr lives in Michigan but his grandparents live in Miami Springs and are helping the organization of this event.

Chad’s mother Tammi, who grew up in Miami Springs, is very grateful for the local support. “It’s just amazing how everyone has rallied together together these two kids. We are so grateful to the Miami Springs community and everyone involved,” she said.

The Chad Tough Foundation came up with a garage sale rally in Michigan for fundraising and that idea led to the event in Miami Springs.

“There’s going to be some great deals and you can help a great cause at the same time,” Tammi said.

About 75 vendors will participate in the cancer event. Each vendor will pay a registration fee to participate and 100 percent of the fees will be split between both children’s foundations. Vendors and customers at the event can also donate.

The event will feature a face painting area for children and a blood donation truck, which was a special request from Dania.

September is childhood cancer awareness month. “By recruiting people to be a part of this event we hope that we've helped to spread a little more awareness for this important cause,” Martin said.

According to I Care I Cure childhood cancer foundation, only 4 percent of federal research funding goes to childhood cancer. “In reality, only a small percent goes to children’s cancer and people need to know that,” Tammi said.

According to Dania and Elaine, this event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the city of Miami Springs, Mayor Zavier Garcia and Sarah Vargas, who runs the Miami Springs Farmers Market and offered to donate the vendor’s fees.

The Facebook page for the event is called Miami Springs Stands Strong Against Childhood Cancer. The name was created with the hope that more fundraising events will be organized in Miami Springs.

“If it works, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t consider doing something else,” Martin said.