First Grader Who Inspired Valley to Light up in Pink Passes Away
An inspiring, young Hudson Valley girl passed away on Tuesday.
Kelsey Berger was a first grader at Sheafe Road Elementary School in Wappingers Falls. She was diagnosed last year with AML, a very rare form of Lukemia. Kelsey's fight with the disease inspired communities across the Hudson Valley to rally behind her, forming a group called Kelsey's Krusaders. The group was responsible for turning their porch lights pink to show their support for Kelsey.
I was lucky enough to get to know Kelsey through events at my son's school. She seriously lit up the room when she walked in. Always full of joy, Kelsey made everyone around her happy. I remember visiting my son for lunch one day just after he started Kindergarten. Kelsey sat next to him and lead the other girls in a cute little song about my son that made him laugh and hide his head in embarrassment. When it was revealed that Kelsey was diagnosed with AML everyone was devastated, but Kelsey continued to stay positive and battled through the worst of the disease with an unrelenting bravery and that same smile I remember seeing in the lunch room.
A letter from Kelsey's parents posted last night shows just how special Kelsey was:
We choose to remember her for who she was; the most selfless and compassionate little girl, who had an infectious smile and a spirit that was loved by so many. We’ll remember her for her bravery and strength, which was remarkable. She took everything cancer could throw
at her and kept going. She endured pain that would have hampered the toughest adult. She found energy and perseverance with each draining treatment. She maintained a positive outlook and an upbeat attitude every step of the way, because that’s who Kelsey was.
Cancer has touched so many of our lives. I've lost family members, a best friend and now one of my son's classmates to this disease. It's something that has the potential make you feel powerless, but witnessing people like Kelsey take on cancer in such an inspiring way makes you realize that we have to continue to stay strong and fight.
Every year Robyn and I raise funds with the WPDH listeners for an incredible charity called Alex's Lemonade Stand. Founded by a young girl much like Kelsey, this charity helps kids and their families battle childhood cancer. In Kelsey's honor, we will be combining "Team Boris" and "Team Robyn" into "Team Kelsey" this year. Instead of battling each other to see who can raise more money, we will be joining forces with the entire Hudson Valley to fight cancer.
All of the funds we raise will be donated to Alex's Lemonade Stand in Kelsey's name. We hope that her strength inspires and empowers other children who are faced with the same challenge that this incredible young girl fought head on.
We will be kicking off our fundraiser this Friday morning at Dunkin' Donuts on Route 9D in Wappingers Falls. Come by from 6am to 10am for free breakfast. All sales of this year's Boris and Robyn Show comic book will be going towards Team Kelsey. We'll also have the comic available at Hudson Valley Comic Con all weekend long.
We'll continue to raise money throughout the entire summer, wrapping up this year's fundraiser at the Dutchess County Fair with our Battle of the Stands. If you'd like to join us on Team Kelsey this year and raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.