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November 29, 2014

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How one boy’s birthday was a gift for other children

Image

Brian Nordli

Kaiden Bresgi-Goffard says goodbye to guests at his 11th birthday party at Domsky Glass studio on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2013. Kaiden invited children with genetic disorders and rare illnesses in the Cure 4 the Kids program to make art that will later be used to raise funds for the foundation.

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Maribel Gonzalez, 12, foreground, and Faith Hooks, 8, pain at Kaiden Bresgi-Goffard's 11th birthday party on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2013. Kaiden invited children with genetic disorders and rare illnesses in the Cure 4 the Kids program to make art that will later be used to raise funds for the foundation

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Junaisy Vargas, 5, paints a box with her father, Otoniel Vargas, at Kaiden Bresgi-Goffard's 11th birthday on Saturday, Aug. 23, 2013. Junaisy recently completed chemotherapy for a tumor and is in the Cure 4 the Kids program, which helps children with genetic disorders and rare illnesses.

When Kaiden Bresgi-Goffard’s mother asked what he wanted for his 11th birthday, his answer surprised her.

He didn’t want a pool party or a specific gift like most kids -- he wanted to throw an art party like the ones his grandparents, Barbara and Larry Domsky, hold twice a year for children battling genetic disorders, cancers and rare diseases.

Kaiden, with the help of his grandparents, invited children from Cure 4 the Kids and organized the entire party. The guests would paint sculptures and canvases that would then be used to raise money at Circus Couture, where the proceeds are donated back into Cure 4 the Kids.

“I’m just really proud of him,” said Rachell Bresgi, Kaiden’s mother. “I didn’t have anything to do with this. I just backed him up and let him go.”

The party was in full swing Saturday. Children ran around Domsky Glass, an art studio, with paint-stained hands and chocolate-stained mouths.

They painted heart sculptures, wooden boxes and canvases. Sometimes the paintings had a purpose, other times, the young artists just wanted to see the paint splatter. One child painted a man’s head, and fell into a fit of laughter at his now-colorful face. Another girl, who recently completed chemotherapy to fight a tumor, painted polka dots on a box.

Kaiden made friends with a girl named Avery Driscoll, and made multiple pieces of artwork.

“I like hanging out with the kids and reminding them about having fun,” Kaiden said.

For three hours, the children left behind infusions, hospital visits, pain and fear for a day full of paint and glue, cupcakes and laughter.

Events such as this can make a huge difference on the children and their families, said Dawn Marie Pavuk, director of development for Cure 4 the Children.

“Any kind of party, it’s giving them a moment to be a kid,” Pavuk said. “They don’t have to worry about counts or infusing.”

The afternoon nearly brought Cindy Christy to tears multiple times. Her three daughters all have a rare genetic immune deficiency that forces them to go to the hospital once a month. Her youngest daughter, Louisa, 5, also suffers from a painful arthritic condition. She was in a walker just one week ago.

Today, she’s hopping around eating cupcakes and goofing off with another girl her age, while her older sisters made two paintings together. Art and music has always been their escape, and Kaiden’s birthday party gave them another chance to have fun and be kids.

“It’s therapy,” Christy said. “Not the sit-and-talk-to-someone kind; this therapy you can’t replace. This is such a positive for all my girls, to know they’re having fun and being normal for a change.”

Avery said she had a lot of fun making art and hanging out in the studio. She completed chemotherapy in May to treat a nonterminal brain tumor. Her mother, Stephanie Driscoll, said this event has allowed her to hang out with other kids who know what she went through.

Most of the time, she has a hard time relating to other children her age.

“Events like this are good,” Driscoll said. “They can just be a regular kid, and kids here understand what they’re going through.”

Later the children serenaded Kaiden with "Happy Birthday." It was the only focus on Kaiden the entire day, but he didn’t mind. He was already on the way to fulfilling his two wishes. He plans to do the same thing next year.

“I learned that if I keep doing this, other kids will start doing it,” Kaiden said. “And it will raise more money for medicine so these kids can get better.”

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