by Jessyca Cardinell
The Gouverneur Savings and Loan Association is supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness through the month of September.
All proceeds collected will go directly to the Ryan’s Wish Foundation. Ryan’s Wish is a local organization in memory of Ryan Saidel, who died of cancer at the age of 19. Monies from the organization to go families afflicted by the awful disease and help with the many medical expenses, gas, meals, among many other things that are needed throughout treatment.
The bank is decorated with many yellow ribbons showing its tremendous support of Childhood Cancer Awareness.
Cheyenne Whitford, Gouverneur Savings & Loan Universal Banker, came up with the idea and organized the event, as her son Cohen was diagnosed in July of 2014 with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
“I’ll never forget the day after my son’s diagnosis waiting in the pre-op room for him to get his port placed. I laid next to him in the hospital bed holding him while he slept, it all felt so unreal like a bad dream, a very bad dream. As a parent many thoughts were running through my head. But while we were waiting, I had received an e-mail telling me that Ryan’s Wish Foundation had donated a gas card and a check for our personal use while caring for our son during this difficult time. Money was honestly the last thing on my mind but the feeling that moment was the most overwhelming and most memorable part of our initial diagnosis for me. I couldn’t believe the immediate outpouring of generosity from our community while we went through that. We are forever grateful, and I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like if we didn’t have this kind of support from our community, friends and family,” said Ms. Whitford of the initial traumatic news and how amazing the support was for her family.
“It was a long, emotionally draining 2.5 years of treatment. Treatment consisted of IV chemo, oral chemo, spinal taps with chemo, bone marrow aspirations, IV antibiotics, oral antibiotics, steroids, blood infusions, platelet infusions, fluid infusions and many hospital stays over two hours away from home,” said Ms. Whitford of the impact that childhood cancer had on her son and family.
“We continue to travel to Syracuse for routine checkups. Cohen is now 9 years old and is considered a Leukemia Survivor. His checkups will become fewer and farther between as long as everything stays good,” said Ms. Whitford of the journey ahead.
“We are not only raising awareness for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we are also raising funds for this great organization so that they will continue to help families like mine by relieving some emotional and financial stress when a family member becomes unexpectedly ill and the expenses keep piling up. I’m very lucky to work with such a caring group of individuals that will help support something so close to me,” said Ms. Whitford of Ryan’s Wish Foundation and its impact locally.
Ms. Whitford shed light that before her son was diagnosed, childhood cancer seemed like something rare and something you’d see on television. After her son’s diagnosis she said that quickly changed.
“I quickly learned that childhood cancer is not rare and it is in fact very common. Now when I hear of a child diagnosed cancer, especially in our community it hits very close to home and brings back a lot of memories. Our children are so innocent and yet they are the most resilient, I’ll never understand why they or anyone has to fight these battles. At least we know they won’t be doing it alone!” said Ms. Whitford.
Stop into Gouverneur Savings and Loan Association before the end of the month and help in raising funds for Ryan’s Wish as well as supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.