SCOTTS VALLEY — Snowballs flew 50 feet in the air and shot over the hay bale barrier of the snow pit at Skypark.About 100 children played in artificial snow and games at a Gabriella’s Snow Day, a benefit for childhood cancers put on by Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support and Team G.
The eponymous Gabriella Cosner, 5, of Team G Foundation was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 4 years old. For her Christmas Eve birthday last year, she wished for snow, so two Seagate Technology employees, Deb Loze and Glenna Heller, decided to make her wish come true after learning Gabriella’s story on her mother’s blog. The community came together and gave Gabriella a white Christmas.
“Today, Gabriella is in remission,” said Judy Barbata of Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support “This is something to celebrate.”
Gabriella ended treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma in February and has had clear scans since March, said her mother Kristen Cosner.
The benefit aimed at raising awareness of childhood cancers and funds for research. National Cancer Institute funds for pediatric cancers research totaled to $208.1 million in 2012, which is 4.1 percent of the $5.067 billion NCI budget.
Cosner said she thinks that percentage is too small.
“There needs to be more done to raise awareness,” she said.
Donations and raffle ticket purchases will help Jacob’s Heart and Team G support families dealing with childhood cancers. Jacob’s Heart provides financial, social and emotional support through programs and grocery and gas cards. Team G sends “Hope Totes” care packages to families at hospitals nationwide.
“We started the blog the week Gabriella was diagnosed because we needed support,” Cosner said. “It was mostly for families and friends, but then the community started reaching out.”
Many local businesses and people pitched in to make Gabriella’s second snow day happen.
Dawgs Hotdogs, Wood Fire Woodie, Cutesy Cupcakes, Pacific Cookie Company and Surf City Coffee provided food for purchase.
Santa even made an appearance, taking wishes and smiling for photo opportunity.
Gabriella said that she was most excited for Santa and that she was going to ask for a Barbie cash register. She arrived with Santa on a fire truck wearing a purple Santa hat.
The event was an early birthday celebration for Gabriella, but it also happened to be Maddie McGrath’s 7th birthday.