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Community embracing efforts to help Haileybird’s leukemia fight

Fundraiser staged by student Katerina -posted by Julia Nikolopoulos on Facebook 180202

Fundraiser staged by student Katerina at Oak Park Deli Feb. 3 -posted by Julia Nikolopoulos on Facebook

By Gary Webb-Proctor

As word spreads and the “Healing For Hailey” fund for the family of a Gledhill Junior Public School Grade 5 student battling leukemia continues to slowly build towards its target, the school has scheduled several special events in February to help nudge it closer.

And the surrounding community is also taking 10-year-old Hailey Conroy‘s situation to heart, with Global TV broadcasting an interview with the family on Feb. 2 and others in the community holding their own fundraisers.

Oak Park Deli on Lumsden Avenue was holding a sugar cookies sale fundraiser on Saturday Feb. 3 initiated by a young student and the deli has promised to double the amount collected, the organizer’s aunt posted on Facebook. 

As we reported in December, Hailey’s mom, Patricia Baranyai, has had to abandon her business of 27 years in order to provide the stay-at-home care needs and has turned to the gofundme.com campaign for help in paying the family’s bills.

Hailey, nicknamed “Haileybird” by her family because of her musical bent, needs to go to hospital for tests and treatments that include chemotherapy and sometimes blood transfusions several times a week and must be monitored around the clock.  That has made it impossible for Ms. Baranyai to work and Hailey’s father has been ailing himself so is unable to help financially, she says.

Hailey during Christmas holidays with her 'baby' doll. -COURTESY

Hailey during Christmas holidays with her ‘baby’ doll. -COURTESY

The initiative, which seeks to raise $21,000, has moved from just over $8,005 since we first reported on it Dec. 26 to now over $15,000 as of 3 p.m. Saturday Feb. 2.

Hailey, who was diagnosed with the blood disease in November, has responded well to the treatments and maintains a positive, even cheerful outlook, Baranyai says in an update post on the social media funding site.  She believes that being able to spend time helping her daughter to heal is a key factor in her recovery and the fund makes it possible for her to continue the pay the bills while doing so.

The staff, students and parents council of the school at 2 Gledhill Ave. between Woodbine Ave. and Main St. aims to increase the total with three events during early February, the school’s official newsletter, The Gledhill Guardian announced in mid-January.

Movie Night Bake Sale: During the school’s movie night event the evening of Friday, Feb. 2 (co-incidentally movie being shown was “Sing”!) therewas a bake sale at the gym entrance for those attending and all proceeds will go to Hailey’s family.

Hearts for Hailey:  During the week before Valentines Day (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday Feb. 5, 7 and 9 as well as Mon. Feb. 12) “red heart valentines” will be sold to students for 50 cents each or three for $1.  Pink hearts are also being made available to “send Hailey a special message on Valentine’s Day.”

Light up the Night for Hailey:  Prior to the scheduled Parent-Teacher Interview Night sessions at the school on Thursday, February 15, glow necklaces will be sold with proceeds going to Hailey and at 6:15 p.m. that evening families will gather in the gym and begin a walk around the school grounds to “light up the night to show our Gledhill family member how much we care.”

The school has also set up a donations jar in the school office.

To donate to the online fund visit https://www.gofundme.com/healingforhailey.  The school can be reached at 416-393-1745.

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