“Loving, fierce, sassy, fun, and most of all, super kind and caring,” said Patty Cavallo of her oldest daughter, Sienna. “I believe that people who met Sienna became a better person because of it.”
The young South Slope girl was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with bone cancer.
“We went to the doctor after we noticed a small bump on her leg, and within 24 hours we spent our first night at Columbia,” Patty told us. “She underwent over 10 surgeries, including the amputation of her leg, and various chemotherapy combinations to try and stop her cancer from spreading. Unfortunately, her cancer continued to return after each chemo, and Sienna passed away before her 10th birthday.”
Sienna’s fire continues to burn, though, thanks in large part to Patty’s involvement with Hope and Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund, an organization that supports children and their families receiving treatment at the Herbert Irving Child & Adolescent Oncology Center at Columbia University Medical Center.
“Philanthropy allows us to provide exemplary patient care and specialized programs to assist our patients and their families through the cancer journey,” said Patty. “Our young patients have free access to complementary and alternative medicine, counseling and emotional support, novel drugs through clinical trials for hard to treat pediatric cancers, and survivorship wellness initiatives.”
Entering her fourth years as chairperson for the Hope and Heroes Children’s Cancer Walk, set to take place on May 19 in Manhattan’s Clinton Cove Park, Patty is hoping to spread the organization’s mission across South Slope and beyond.
“What we need most is people,” she said. “We are really looking to make some noise and let people know that kids get cancer, too! You could start a team, join my team (Team Sienna or the Kids Against Cancer team), or get your co-workers and neighbors involved.
“I’m looking to give a voice to childhood cancer,” Patty added,”because I believe most people do not know it’s the number one disease killer of children — more than asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.”
A bit closer to home, Hope and Heroes will be teaming with local favorite, City Stomp, for a special concert this Saturday, April 13, at Littlefield (622 Degraw Street), with all proceeds benefiting the 4th Annual Hope and Heroes Walk.
“City Stomp has always been a supporter of Hope & Heroes,” Patty said. “Kevin MacCallum, the founder, taught Sienna music when she was 4, and continued to bring her music when she was sick. He’s a very special man who truly cares about Hope & Heroes, Sienna, and bringing awareness to childhood cancer.
“Not to mention,” she added, “that City Stomp has the best music classes in town!”
Tickets for the Hope and Heroes benefit concert are $12 in advance, and $15 at the door. Family tickets (with a maximum of two adults) are also available in advance for $40.
The doors open at 2:30pm, and the stage will start rocking at 3pm. For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit the Littlefield website.
“I was so fortuniate during Sienna’s illness to be wrapped up with love and support by this community,” said Patty. “It’s important to realize that kid’s getting cancer is more than a sad Saint Jude commerical. It’s happening to our children, in our communities, and together I believe we can make a difference.”
The weather has been beautiful, and May should be even better. Let’s make this the best year Team Sienna has ever had. Visit the Hope and Heroes website for more information on the organization, sign up for the upcoming walk, and show the Cavallo family a little South Slope love.
“Walk to end kid’s cancer. It’s good for the sole.”
Images via Patty Cavallo