Ellen Yeomans and Chris Arnold present Dr. Welch, professor and chair of Pediatrics at Upstate Medical University, with a $220,000 check for Golisano Children’s Hospital. Yeomans and Arnold represent Paige’s Butterfly Run, which raised a record amount for the hospital this year. The event is named after Yeomans and Arnold’s daughter, Paige, who died after battling leukemia. She was a first grade student at Palmer Elementary School.
Baldwinsville Chris Arnold credits online fundraising for Paige’s Butterfly Run’s record breaking numbers this year.
Held in June, the event drew 2,650 participants (a 14 percent increase over 2011) and raised $253,000 – the previous high was $168,000 in 2011. The organization was able to present Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital with a check for $220,000 on Dec. 31.
“[This is] by far the largest gift we have ever made,” said Arnold.
Founded in 1997, the event is named for and held in honor of Arnold’s daughter, Paige Yeomans Arnold, who was a first grade student at Palmer Elementary School in Baldwinsville when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She was treated at what is now Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital before succumbing to the disease in 1994.
“Having a child with cancer is a tough place to be,” Arnold said. “I think everyone involved [with Paige’s Butterfly Run] understands what it is we are trying to do and is supportive of that whether it be through their registration fee or that plus their personal fundraising.”
This year’s $220,000 donation was divided into five different funds: Paige's Cancer Research Fund ($85,000); Paige's Family Assistance Fund ($98,000); Paige Yeomans Arnold Memorial Endowment Fund ($15,000); Paige’s Family Fun Fund ($17,000); and the new pediatric cancer outpatient clinic ($5,000), which is scheduled to open in 2014. Since its inception, the run has raised a total of $1.5 million.
According to Toni Gary, director of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital Community Relations, donations from Paige’s Butterfly Run have helped to create a more normal atmosphere at the hospital for the families and children who have to stay for extended periods of time, specifically through Paige’s Family Fun Fund. This fund, which received $17,000 from PBR this year alone, provides child life specialists with the resources necessary to achieve a home-like environment on the inpatient and outpatient floors of the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders. Money is used to help patients and their families enjoy a family meal, create birthday and holiday celebrations, and to generally lighten the lives of patients when they are in the hospital for treatment.