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Callie’s Garden To Be Dedicated This Saturday, September 7th

Callie’s Garden To Be Dedicated This Saturday, September 7th

Callie Cavanaugh was a vibrant, caring, generous, and loving young girl who left us all too soon from a childhood cancer. She left behind a legacy of love. This lovely girl is going to be remembered and celebrated with a more lasting legacy when the project called “Callie’s Garden” is dedicated this Saturday, September 7th, beginning at 2 p.m.

“Callie’s Garden was a vision we created in early 2018 when we were faced with the reality that our nine-year-old, Callie, would be healed in heaven and not here on earth after her 2 1/2 year battle against rhabdomyosarcoma, a pediatric muscle cancer,” Michelle Cavanaugh, Callie’s mother, told Webb Weekly. “We mentioned this to a few friends in our community and before we knew it $16,900 had been raised through a Go Fund Me created by Eric McNulty. He has really been an amazing supporter of Callie and our family and did not have to step up and do this kind act. It was not the first time either, as two years earlier, he helped his son organize a huge ‘Callie Strong’ t-shirt selling fundraiser and barely knew our family at the time.”

Michelle said the overwhelming community support for her Garden was just beginning to unfold after the money was raised. The first bid for the Garden to be done professionally was over $40,000. “Our hearts sunk — but only briefly — as people started to stop us at work, at events, or contacting us offering their skills, material or equipment if we needed help with the Garden, not even knowing our dream had exceeded our budget at the time said Michelle. “A key offer was given by Dr. Mike Dincher from PCT to have his landscape design class use Callie’s Garden as their project for the year. Soon after, we found businesses that were willing to donate supplies and equipment and offer discounts on the plants and trees we needed. Our hearts were broken as we lost Callie, but to have a community that rallied around us to see this memorial become a reality helped heal our hearts.”

According to Michelle, the Loyalsock Township Supervisors approved the use of the 1/4 acre spot next to the creek at Short Park in the spring of 2018. Michelle’s dad, Callie’s ‘Poppa,’ was the excavator for the project and broke ground last fall. Now, a year later, the Garden is complete and more amazing than what they had envisioned. It’s just perfect.

“We wanted it to be full of vibrant colors, soothing sounds, beautiful creatures, and it is that and more,” declared Michelle. “There is definitely a tranquil feeling there already, and many feel a presence that we are sure is Callie’s spirit.”

She described her daughter this way, “Callie was a beautiful, giving, vivacious girl that loved everything about life. She took such good care of her family and friends and always was looking for a way to make someone happy or give comfort when it was needed. She had a way of making all that she did sparkle or shine. There was something special about her before cancer that continued through her battle and perhaps became stronger.”

The Callie Strong logo started soon after her diagnosis and was fitting. During her own treatment of intense chemo, radiation, and surgeries, she was still finding ways to help others around her. She created ‘Callie Cares’ just six months before she died when she decided she wanted to raise money through selling a newly designed Callie Strong t-shirt to buy Christmas gifts for the other children at Geisinger. She raised over $5,000, and specially selected $1,000 worth of gifts that year and presented them herself to the pediatric staff to hand out to the patients. “We were able to sponsor a Make-a-Wish for a local child and support a room at the Ronald McDonald House with the remaining money. We also provide ‘Callie Comfort Bags,’ extra outfits, and food and gas cards to the kids and families at Janet Weis Pediatric Oncology. It is our mission to keep this going. Callie Cares is now a nonprofit and building momentum around the Garden Dedication,” said Michelle.

The dedication will be on Saturday, September 7th, at Short Park on Northway Road. The formal dedication will start at 2 p.m. and will conclude with the release of over 100 butterflies.

The Uptown Music Collective will perform right after featuring some of Callie’s favorite songs while kids can enjoy the super fun Callie-inspired activities. A suggested donation of $5 per activity will raise money for Callie Cares. There will also be new Callie Strong t-shirts and other items available to purchase.

At 6 p.m. Dylan Rockoff will be performing a concert. He is such a busy, sought-out musician, and organizers of the event are so grateful he graciously agreed to do the concert and free of charge so that they can continue their efforts to raise money for Callie Cares. The day will conclude with a beautiful glow stick light vigil honoring other local children that have been healed in heaven recently, and those still fighting pediatric cancer.

There will be hot food for purchase, Sunset ice cream, and other vendors at the event too. Everyone is encouraged to bring a chair or buy a Callie Strong blanket and spend the day on the field by the Garden eating and taking in the concerts.

“We are so excited to thank the community by having a day filled with fun, laughter, and a few tears. We hope that Callie’s Garden is a place all can use to reflect, pray, celebrate, or simply relax or talk with a friend for years to come. And we love that it will be a reminder of our brave, strong, beautiful girl that inspired a community to be kind,” Michelle concluded.

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