Support Sweet Sally Sunshine

October 3, 2013 Heather Chin
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The Ragamuffin Parade is a Bay Ridge tradition that celebrates the children of our borough and the child in all of us.

This year, the family-friendly parade along Third Avenue will also serve as a prelude to another event: the Sweet Sally Sunshine Fundraiser, organized by Bay Ridge Cares to support little Sally Noel Kabel, who was diagnosed with leukemia this past July at just 10 months old. Her cancer is currently in remission, although she is still receiving chemotherapy in the hope that it will prevent a need for a bone marrow transplant.

The fundraiser will run from 2 to 5 p.m. at The Wicked Monk, at 9510 Third Avenue, rain or shine. The whole family is welcome and kids under 12 get in free, with a donation of $10/$5 requested from adults/kids over 12. Admission includes one drink ticket, light refreshments, entertainment, a gift auction, raffle and games for the kids. All proceeds go towards supporting Sally and her family’s medical and other related expenses.

Such thoughtfulness and consideration from their neighbors has been “unbelievable,” “reassuring,” and at times “surreal,” said Sally’s parents, Nicole and Matt Kabel.

“[Bay Ridge Cares] set up a calendar so twice a week, neighbors bring us food for dinner. So tonight, when I might not get home [with Sally from the hospital] until 7 p.m., there’ll be a home-cooked meal for us and the kids,” said Nicole. “We walk into Food Town now and five people will walk up to us. . . It’s interesting to have people so involved in our day-to-day, but it’s also nice, these words of encouragement and support.”

“We knew families battling cancer in small towns who had the entire community supporting them [and] I felt being in NYC, we. . . would get lost in the shuffle [but] the last few days have proven me wrong on that,” wrote Matt in a September 21 blog post.

Little Sally first came down with a high fever in June, and a month of tests and treatment finally resulted in her diagnosis with leukemia. There are only 200 cases of infant leukemia in the United States and fortunately, Sally’s was caught early.

Sally just turned one year old on September 11 and, according to her mother, is in pretty good spirits, not letting her bouts of vomiting and nausea prevent her from playing with her toys and brothers—Thomas, seven, and William, four—when she can. In addition to her chemotherapy treatments, she is also receiving physical and occupational therapy, and feeding therapy.

“Every day is so different and can change so quickly that in general, we live in today,” said Nicole, who has had to cut back on her work hours as a massage therapist, while Matt juggles full-time work with taking care of the boys and going on hospital runs.

Fortunately, the Kabel family bond is as strong as ever, in part due to the love that they all share.

“Each of my kids has a little ditty of their own that we sing. Sally’s starts off with ‘Sweet sweet Salllllyyyy. . .’ and the kids know it and sing it to her,” said Nicole. “I sing it to her when we’re not home [and] there’s a line in it for my husband, a line for the boys, then all of us together. The boys will ask me to sing her song when she’s not here. It’s like a family prayer.”

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