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The Upstate Foundation receives $155,000 donation from Paige’s Butterfly Run to support pediatric cancer care, research and family services

The Upstate Foundation today accepted a $155,000 donation from Paige’s Butterfly Run for their now annual giving in support of Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital. The organization raised money through a variety of events, some of which were held virtually this year since no one could gather due to the COVID pandemic.

A Baldwinsville elementary school student, Paige Arnold was diagnosed with leukemia in 1993 when she was 6; Paige died a year later from complications from a bone marrow transplant in an effort to cure her leukemia, at Boston Children's Hospital.

Since 1997, Paige’s Butterfly Run has raised more than $3.7 million dollars in support of pediatric cancer care at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate.

“We cannot thank Chris Arnold, the Paige's Butterfly Run team, and all their community supporters enough for continuing to work in support of our patients and their families, especially in a year that kept many of us on the sidelines because of the pandemic,” said Toni Gary, assistant vice president for Development & Community Relations for Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.

Arnold said his daughter’s memory, and the ability to help other children and families facing cancer are what drives him and the team at PBR to continue this mission some 26 years after Paige's death. Arnold, Executive Director Myia Hill and the PBR team are especially grateful for strong corporate and community support.

“Pandemic or not, Central New York is one of the most giving communities I know. The spirit, enthusiasm and effort from everyone makes a significant difference working toward new treatments, cures, and support. The team at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Waters Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders are great partners for us and for our families."

“There is nothing closer to my heart than assisting families and their children when their world has turned upside down,” Assistance from organizations like ours is more important than ever, as COVID "piled on" in 2020 on top of cancer. As we all know, cancer doesn't take a Holiday, Arnold said.

Gregory Conners, MD, MPH, MBA, chair of Pediatrics and executive director of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, offered his thanks for the support. “Our cancer program for children and families is one of the hallmarks of our care, and we are grateful for individuals like Chris Arnold and the Paige’s Butterfly Run organization who sustain these families with their ongoing support,” said Connors who has run Paige’s Butterfly Run each year (one virtual) since he joined Upstate two years ago.

Melanie Comito, MD, professor of pediatrics and division chief of the Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate, said the needs of families battling cancer with their kids continued through the pandemic.

“Although the fundraising events for Paige’s Butterfly Run had to be re-imagined this year, our community again came together to support this outstanding organization that promotes care for children with cancer in our region,” Comito said. “These funds allow children with cancer to receive superior care and groundbreaking research close to home. In addition to the emotional toll of hearing your child has cancer, we cannot underestimate the financial cost of childhood cancer which has only been amplified by the current pandemic.

“Donations from the Paige’s Butterfly Run organization help families pay for gas, food, and unpaid bills, for example, while also providing comfort packs with some immediate financial assistance,” Comito said. “Every day I see the impact that Paige’s does to make this journey a little easier and provide hope for tomorrow.”

This year numerous events helped raised awareness and funding for the Upstate Foundation, including:

—The necessary transitioning of the normally in-person events Pedaling 4 Paige and Paige’s Butterfly Run to virtual events, with the assistance of Leone Timing.

—Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, held in September, counted on community partnerships to help raise awareness and support for pediatric cancer in Central New York. National Grid and Barclay Damon lit their structures gold, and other businesses sold paper butterflies.

—Paige’s Pajamarama – Several schools and districts throughout the year hosted a Pajamarama Day in which students and staff were able to wear their PJ’s to school in honor of kids who have to make a monetary donation.

— A partnership with Barnes & Noble on Route 31 in Clay, in which a Book Fair and a Book drive provided books to the Child Life and Education Specialists at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital to give to kids that are inpatient.

—Received grants from the Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation, and for the PBR Comfort Kit Program, which provides immediate support to all newly diagnosed patient families.

Caption: Chris Arnold and Miya Hill, second and third from right, present the check for $155,000 to the Upstate Foundation to benefit pediatric cancer care, research and family support at Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital and the Water Center for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders. On hand to accept the check are, from left, Toni Gary of the Upstate Foundation, Gregory Connors, MD, MPH, MBA, chair of Pediatrics, and Melanie Comito, MD, professor of pediatrics and division chief of the Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders. Arnold is Paige's father and founder of the Paige's Butterfly Run organization, and Miya Hill, executive director of the organization.