Edna's Foundation of Hope raises funds for research and to help local families

| 22 Feb 2012 | 02:16

Monroe - “Edna had a beautiful spirit that allowed her to see the good in people and the ability to enjoy each day. She frequently reminded us all to take a breather from our hectic lives to savor and enjoy time with our families. “We hope that you will honor Edna by using our gift to do the same. “We wish you and your family strength and peace and hope that you will join us in our fight to give this silent cancer a voice.” This was taken from the letter accompanying a grant from Edna’s Foundation of Hope in 2009 to Danielle Kelly, widow of Sgt. Matt Kelly, a police officer in the Blooming Grove Police Department. Matt’s parents and brother accepted the gift from Tom Curley and members of the Foundation, with this condition, and as Tom remembers: “We wanted Danielle and the girls to do something as a family. Take a trip, or if they needed to, pay some bills. Edna was all about family time.” This past summer, Danielle Kelly, with her two daughters, Maria 6, and Katie 4, went down to the Jersey shore. “Matt and Edna bonded over chemo treatments,” Matt’s mother Ellen recalled. “Matt was diagnosed with a sarcoma in 2007, and we lost him 18 months later.” In the meantime, Matt and Edna would meet up at Sloan-Kettering Hospital for their regular treatments and they enjoyed a friendship that had a lot in common. Both were once New York City police officers (Kelly transferred to the Blooming Grove department in 2001, and Curley was retired), both were worried more about their spouses and children than about themselves, and both wanted to find a cure for sarcomas. She remembers the times she was with her son at Sloan and how they’d somehow found themselves next to Edna’s room. “When they saw each other, they didn’t say much, but their eyes said a lot. We don’t know what they were going through, with the trips to the hospital, the worries, the pain, but for that moment, they had each other, and they didn’t need words.” Matt Kelly passed away in November 2008. Awards Originally, the Foundation had been giving awards to medical facilities like New York University Hospital and the team of Dr. Eva Hernando, dedicated researchers of LMS. The foundation members felt they could also do some good helping local families and were happy to help two other families in 2009 in addition to the Kelly family. Again this year, two other families have come to the attention of the Foundation, and they will each receive an award at next month’s gala. The first is a woman from Rockland County who is battling a fast moving cancer and the other recipient passed in October 2009. Her husband will be on hand to receive the award. The committee and foundation vice president Janice Meehan announced that Hernando and the research team at NYU would be receiving another grant. “They have consistently come forward with proposals that move the research into LMS further along,” Meehand said. “ We are very excited at their persistence. They keep photos of Edna from past galas up on their walls; it’s a reminder why they do what they do.” Edna’s Foundation of Hope was begun in Edna’s Monroe kitchen not long after she was diagnosed. It was not her own battle that gave her the idea, but the story of a 15 year old local teen that died from the disease soon after the diagnosis. “I have to give this cancer a voice,” Edna vowed, “so that parents don’t have to see their children suffer and die so early.” The Foundation has since grown into a major charitable organization that lives on and moves forward despite the passing of its founder in last October. Every dollar collected goes towards research or helping local families.

Essential information
This year’s event, “Countdown for a Cure,” will be held on Friday, Nov. 5 at the Sheraton Mahwah, N.J. For tickets, log on to www.ednashope.org or call Maureen Lutley at 845-774-7360 or Tom Curley at 845-591-6992.