While organizers of the tenth Relay For Life of Newtown are in their home stretch this week, making final preparations for their 12-hour event taking place May 31–June 1 at Newtown High School, organizers of a similar event are beginning to ramp up their annual efforts. Tessa Ruggeri, campaign manager for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) of Westchester-Hudson Valley-Connecticut, and Mia Lilienthal, an LLS campaign specialist, co-hosted a meeting for Newtown Light The Night on May 21. Four members of the local committee organizing a local Light The Night (LTN) event attended the meeting at NYA Sports & Fitness Center. In addition to discussing this year’s LTN, the committee addressed concerns about a recent change of personnel and restructuring of LLS. Newtown’s Light The Night, she said, is not in jeopardy. Newtown’s event is the first of the 2014 LLS season in Connecticut, and is scheduled for Saturday, September 27, at NYA Sports & Fitness Center.
The Newtown Public Schools Recovery Project has slated its next community forum, “Caring for our Youth, Signs of Suicide (SOS),” to take place Thursday, June 5, from 6 to 7 pm, at Newtown Middle School. The forum will highlight the relationship between depression and suicide, teaching that most often suicide is a fatal response to a treatable disorder: depression. The forum will be facilitated by David Jacob, LCSW, Recovery Project Director, and by District Health Coordinator Judy Blanchard, MS, CPP.
Marg Studley and Marie Sturdevant, co-chairpersons of the Newtown Chapter of Regional Hospice and Home Care of Western Connecticut, have announced that the annual fundraising and volunteer thank you breakfast will take place Wednesday, June 11, at The Waterview in Monroe. This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the breakfast honoring the many volunteers and caregivers of Regional Hospice. The yearly event also serves to thank the community, and to raise funds to support the organization known for its devotion to the comfort and care of terminally ill patients and their families. Regional Hospice serves more than 500 area patients and their families each year.
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Newtown has kicked off its “Paint the Town Purple” campaign to create awareness about cancer. Purple ribbons will be displayed up to the Newtown event held on overnight from Saturday, May 31, to Sunday, June 1, at Newtown High School’s Blue & Gold Stadium. The signature color for Relay For Life is purple as it represents “all cancers.” Relay supporters are encouraging businesses and local communities to join in and show their awareness and support in the fight against cancer. To help finish the fight, relay volunteers are asking community members to participated in a Paint the Town Purple campaign by displaying a purple bow inside or outside their home or business, themed purple displays in storefronts, swapping out white bulbs for purple bulbs, or selecting a day for everyone to wear purple at work or school. Residents are encouraged to decorate their mailboxes or homes with a purple theme or colored ribbon.
The Newtown High School Peer Leadership group is set to host a Bone Marrow Donor Registry Drive on Thursday, May 29, from 8 am until 2 pm in the school’s auditorium, 12 Berkshire Road. The event is open to the public. The drive will be offered through the Be The Match Donor Registry, the largest registry in the world providing a means for thousands of patients with life-threatening diseases or leukemia to find a match.
Stan and Karen Perrone of Newtown returned May 7 from Washington, DC, where they had spent two days advocating for the National Brain Tumor Society.“Head To The Hill” was a gathering of more than 140 people from all over the country, said Ms Perrone, seeking to focus senators and representatives on three issues important to anyone impacted by the crisis of a brain tumor diagnosis.First, said Ms Perrone, the group is seeking support for a $32 billion funding of research for the National Institute of Health, which funds the National Cancer Society. Second, the group is looking for support for the Cancer Treatment Parity Act. The third point that advocates for the National Brain Tumor Society pressed with the senators and representatives was the reauthorization of the Carolyn Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Act.
The tenth Newtown Relay For Life is just two weeks away and community spirit around the landmark event is building to a fever pitch around town. The public event, which helps raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society (ACS), has taken its place alongside the Labor Day Parade, holiday tree lightings and Halloween on Main Street as one of the biggest community building events of the year. Returning to Newtown High School’s Blue & Gold Stadium after several years at Fairfield Hills, the free, 12-hour non-sporting relay is expected to draw thousands of residents during the overnight of May 31 to June 1, many of whom have faced cancer themselves, or who have supported loved ones, friends, and family members through the fight. Event Chairman Chris Farrington is reminding those who are already registered for the 2014 Relay that the last full committee meeting is set for 6 pm on Thursday, May 22, at Newtown Savings Bank.
CT-Moms Online, the only non-profit parenting forum in Fairfield County, has partnered with over a dozen parenting organizations around the area for the 7th Annual Diaper Drive. The drive continues through the end of May at all 17 area locations of Bright Horizons Early Education & Preschool, The Little Gym, Tumble Jungle (including the Newtown location at 224 South Main Street) and KidVille, covering spanning the area from Stamford to Newtown with the help of over 20 town coordinators. Started in 2007 by collecting diapers from 80 members in their private homes, this drive has grown from a few boxes of diapers to over 20,000 diapers in the month filling two storage units. This year's goal is to collect at least 30,000 diapers for ten local charities.
Six community organizations have come together to present “A Day of Shared Experience,” Saturday, May 31, from 9:15 am to 2:30 pm, at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel. The Community Connections event is being organized by The Resiliency Center of Newtown, Sandy Hook Promise, Newtown/Sandy Hook Community Foundation, Inc, Walnut Hill Community Church, the Town of Newtown, and Newtown Public Schools as a means of helping people understand the trauma experienced 12/14, and developing understanding. It will also serve as a means to learn about coping skills that have worked for others who have experienced trauma similar to that of 12/14. Attendees will hear from keynote speaker Dr Kevin Becker, and will also have the opportunity to hear from survivors and relatives of tragedies that took place at Chardon High School, Columbine High School, the Nickel Mines Amish community, and Virginia Tech, among other speakers.
Newtown Youth & Family Services (NYFS), at 15 Berkshire Road in Sandy Hook, is developing a new curriculum for individuals and families who are looking for social recreational and educational programming for children with autism spectrum disorders. The agency is working closely with the autism resources and services of Connecticut, and has recently hired a full-time recreational therapist who will lead these programs. To continue developing its new curriculum, NYFS is requesting that Newtown families complete an anonymous 14-question survey concerning services that are currently available, suggestions for other services, and what roadblocks they are experiencing, among other topics.