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'Godmothers' a godsend page 2
Stafford County mothers form Fairy Godmother Project, a group dedicated to help families with children with cancer

 After children of friends were stricken with cancer, Stephanie Johnson (left) and Andie McConnell created the Fairy Godmother Project, which brings volunteers together to help with meals, chores and errands for families going through pediatric cancer treatments.
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Date published: 10/10/2011


Volunteers organized the frozen items for her. McConnell also looked into whether the family is eligible for a handicapped sticker (they are) and a program that reminds other students about a sick child when she's absent from school.

"It gives me more time to be able to interact with my children, whether it's fun and playing or snuggling or doing medicines," Lynelle Kapinos said. "You don't have to stop and figure out what you're going to cook for dinner. It's a godsend."

McConnell wants to line up restaurants or lawn-care businesses that would provide meals or rake leaves--once, twice or as often as they can afford. She'd also like to have gift cards for siblings and gas cards for parents.

"They shouldn't have to worry about finances and domestic stuff," McConnell said. "They should just have to worry about taking care of their children, particularly the one with cancer."


The second part of the project focuses on capturing memories.

Johnson has lined up 14 photographers to do photo sessions with families. Pediatric cancer often strikes babies, and parents haven't had the chance to have formal photos taken.

"Or, they think they'll do it later," Johnson said, and later never comes.

In Casey Kropf's case, the timing of the Fairy Godmother Project was just right.

Casey was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor when he was 6 months old. Before his death at 14 months, his parents tried numerous treatments, including a "last-chance effort" of proton radiation therapy, said Casey's mother.

Soon after the Kropfs returned to Fairfax, Johnson planned a visit in May.

"It was one of his last good weeks," his mother said. "You could still see the brightness of who he was, and he was really something to treasure."

Johnson spent several hours with Casey and his older sister, Hartley.

In one image, Casey is looking over his mother's shoulder, a slight smile on his cherubic face.

In another, he and Hartley are outside on wooden chairs as Hartley leans in to kiss her brother on the head. Hartley, 3, may not remember her brother as she gets older.

"But whenever she thinks of him, she's going to remember that picture on the wall," her mother said. "It's a gift that will last a lifetime."

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com

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The Fairy Godmother Project is part of Journey 4 A Cure, a group that's raising funds for research and development of a cure for pediatric cancer. It was inspired by Declan Carmical, a twin who was born six weeks early and died of cancer eight days before his first birthday.

Based in Loudoun County, the organization was looking for ways to provide sources for families when Andie McConnell, co-founder of the fairy godmothers, contacted them, said President Beth Collingwood.

"Their ideas and mission were exactly what we knew families needed most," said Collingwood, who is Declan's aunt and watched his parents go through the physical, emotional and financial devastation.

Donations to the Fairy Godmother Project can be sent to Journey 4 A Cure, Inc., 43300-116 Southern Walk Plaza #649, Broadlands, Va. 20148. Donors are asked to put FGP in the memo line.

The fairy godmothers also are looking for volunteers. More information is available at 540/751-8347 or at vafg2011@gmail.com. Their website is: fairygodmotherproject.blog spot.com.