When Katy Stewart, a fifth grader at Sag Harbor Elementary, was diagnosed with liver cancer many parents and teachers wondered how her classmates and their families would cope with her treatment and recovery.
At school a constant outpouring of get-well-soon sentiments, expressed in cards and caring notes, has become the norm, while community parents have tried to help the Stewart family with mundane day-to-day tasks like housework and meals.
Meanwhile a group of Katy’s classmates, on learning that she would be losing her hair in chemotherapy, hit on an unusual and creative scheme: a lemonade stand fundraiser to pay for Katy’s wig.
Enlisting their mothers, the girls set out their first stand the weekend before last in North Haven and netted $278 in an afternoon. That one went so well that they decided to have another last weekend on Madison Street, raising another $450 to bring the sum of their efforts to $758.
Denise O’Brien, one of the mothers who spearheaded much of the planning, raised $400 in other donations to fully cover the cost of the wig. The wig itself was ordered through a wigmaker friend of Christie Brinkley, whose daughter Sailor was once a classmate of Katy’s. Katy and her mother went to the wigmaker last Friday to find something that would work when the chemotherapy takes its toll on Katy’s hair.
Besides Denise and Christie, mothers Susan Kinsella, Ellie Jannetti, Kathleen Mulcahy, Carla O’Donoghue and Kelly Kunzeman all had a hand in what was done. The fifth graders at both stands were Fallon O’Brien, Courtney Kinsella, Sarah Jannetti, Kerrie Vila, Rose O’Donoghue and Claire Kunzeman. Kit Ramgopal was also at the stand this past weekend.
Those interested in Katy’s condition are invited to follow her progress at www.caringbridge.org/visit/katystewart.