Shorebread is all about great causes, but this one is seriously up there…in a truly moving, heartbreaking and dearly important way. Get Well Gabby is an organization that was founded on an impassioned foundation of strong-will and the courage to fight for a cure for childhood cancer. Their mission is three-fold: to raise money for childhood brain cancer research to help find a cure, to assist in the care and wellbeing of children and their families battling childhood cancer, and to provide resources for families navigating the daunting realities of cancer. Furthermore, the initiative seeks to spread awareness of all childhood cancers while fostering hope for all affected.
The Vogel’s (the organization’s founders) youngest daughter Gabriella was diagnosed with inoperable tumors on her brain stem, her hypothalamus and her cerebellum in May of 2011. She was officially diagnosed with Diffuse Intra Pontine Glioma (DIPG) after she had brain surgery to biopsy part of the tumor. After discussing their options, Gabby’s treatment continued at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with daily doses of chemotherapy and radiation treatment on her brain stem. After a few months of treatment, Gabby was brought back to the hospital after multiple seizures. Brain scans showed that her tumor had continued to grow throughout the summer and had invaded more areas of her brain. Unfortunately, after a strong and courageous battle, Gabby passed away on September 11th of 2011. Today, her memory lives on in the hearts of all that knew Gabby, but also through her parent’s amazing efforts to help others in her honor. “We began fundraising immediately because of the lack of funding for childhood cancer,” said Carolynn Vogel, Gabby’s mother and President and Co-Founder of the Get Well Gabby Foundation.
Get Well Gabby is a family effort as well, with Gabby’s two big sisters, Madison and Katie (who are 12 and 11) contributing to and participating in the events that the foundation puts on. The organization has pledged to give $150,000 to the DuPont Pediatric Hospital in five years and they are well on their way. “The cause is so unbelievably important, 46 kids a day get diagnosed with the disease,” said Vogel. For the first time ever, The Get Well Gabby Foundation has introduced the Gabby Gobble 5K. An inaugural event happening on November 27th, Thanksgiving Day. “We decided on Thanksgiving Day because it’s unique and is a great way to start a tradition, it’s going to be a wonderful family fun event,” said Vogel.
The event is located at Irish Eyes Pub in Lewes, DE , who is a proud host of the race. Registration begins at 8:30AM with the race time set to start at 9:30AM. Lewes is a great spot because it’s in the middle of the surrounding areas, making it convenient for people all over the Eastern Shore. The entry fee for pre-registration is $25 and the day of the race is $30 and goes directly to The Get Well Gabby Foundation. There will be long sleeve tees given out, post-race refreshments graciously provided by Irish Eyes and beer for those of age- awards will be given for top runners and fundraisers.
“Get Well Gabby isn’t about getting Gabby well, it’s about getting other kids well now,” said Vogel.