A Christmas Story

09 Jan A Christmas Story

As 2014 draws to a close, it is a time for reflection on past events, renewing and reestablishing the important things in our lives, and rejoicing in accomplishments and the excitement of a new year of opportunities.
At Kids Up Front, we have had an exciting year full of many reasons to celebrate, and we are constantly amazed at the resilience and courage of our kids and families. We love what we do, and we are excited each day to share the generosity of our donors with deserving kids and the people who are closest to them. We celebrate a smile on a child’s face when they attend their first hockey game, the joy and cheers of a group of youths attending a special Kids Count event, children chosen for our Pay It Forward Project, and the special moments spent honoring a deserving child with a VIP experience.
As you reflect upon what is important to you, and make plans for the year ahead, please keep the following story close to your hearts. Ethan’s journey is that of a hero, and we hope it inspires you to take on a new challenge, get involved in your community, or simply to appreciate more of life’s simple and heartfelt moments.

“I K.O.’ed Cancer”
Twas the night before Christmas,
and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even a mouse.
The boxing gloves were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that a Champion would soon be there…..
Ethan was nestled all snug in his bed,
With visions of boxers and rings in his head…….

Ethan is an eleven- year-old boy with an infectious smile, compelling personality and a seemingly impossible dream to join the world of boxing. Ethan was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma in 2007. Although Ethan’s treatment is now over, he continues to exhibit courage each and every day in his continued fight against cancer. He has had a long-held interest in boxing, and found a way to participate in a local gym that can accommodate his health needs in the sport. This alone was a significant achievement for Ethan, but a compassionate and dedicated community partner at Kids Cancer Care recognized Ethan’s incredible passion for the sport and his continued personal challenges. She wished to do something special for him.
She contacted Nicky Nash, Program Manager at Kids Up Front, and the process of a Christmas wish come true was born. Nicky recognized the importance of boxing in this child’s life and the significant contribution it has made in his continued recovery and increasing independence. She contacted Carly De Guzman of Teofista Boxing and a VIP experience was planned for Ethan. He was invited as the Guest of Honor at the Teofista Boxing Series 14 “Time to Shine” event held November 21, 2014 at the Chinese Cultural Centre. Ethan enjoyed an amazing evening with the boxers and staff. He was welcomed into the ring and introduced to the cheering crowd in attendance. He was recognized with a prestigious boxing belt, and enjoyed photo opportunities and autographs with the athletes.

The evening was a special tribute to Ethan and a reminder to all of us that dreams are important for all of us to think about, savor and sometimes be fortunate enough to manifest on our own or realize through the assistance of others. Ethan said that he had the best night of his life, and that he “felt special again”. However, the most amazing part of the night was to see Ethan in the ring, with the visions of boxers, lights and bells no longer just in his head, and wearing a belt bigger than himself. “I K.O.’Ed cancer!” he exclaimed.

There is no belt big enough or prestigious enough for that Knockout.
In closing, we want to extend our warmest holiday wishes to all of our supporters, donors, community partners and ticket contacts. May you all get time to dream over the holidays, and may those dreams include giving gifts of joy and love to others.
Evan, Nicky, Jason and Harlee

-The Kids Up Front Team