Raising funds for research
BY: Mickey Goodman
The words “your child has cancer” are daggers in the hearts of parents. “When it’s stage IV sacrococcygeal teratoma, a rare germ cell tumor, it’s even more devastating because little is known about it,” says Jenn Hobby of Star 94’s Jenn & Friends, whose daughter Reese was diagnosed when she was 10 months old.
But Hobby and her husband, Dr. Grant Rivera, superintendent of Marietta City Schools, were among the lucky ones. After four rounds of chemo to shrink the tumor, followed by surgery performed by Dr. Thomas A. Olson at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Reese, now 4, shows no residual signs of cancer.
“Our relief was immense, and we decided to help raise money for MaGIC (Malignant Germ Cell International Consortium), which is searching for better treatments and a cure,” says Hobby.
The couple initially raised $157,000 through corporate partners, small events, store openings, product sales and a live radio show. That was followed with an additional $50,000 from the first annual Ring the Bell Benefit, named for the tradition of patients ringing a bell when they’re declared cancer-free. “We plan to host the fundraiser every year and continue to be involved in the Aflac [cancer] community, a ‘family’ you’re a part of but never wanted to join,” she says.