|By Carley Dangona
Kane "Baby Kane" Barlow-Miller
Reminder Publications submitted photo
WESTFIELD A fundraiser featuring James Cawley, the number one Elvis impersonator in the United States, will take place to benefit 7-month-old Kane Barlow-Miller "Baby Kane" who is seriously ill.
Residents and businesses have reached out in support of the event that will be hosted on May 11 at the East Mountain Country Club, located at 1458 E. Mountain Road.
Baby Kane underwent open heart surgery when he was two days old for the six heart defects he was born with.
He has also diagnosed with a rare lung disease called Congenital Pulmonary Lymphangiectasia that affects the lymphatic system of the body, which helps the human immune system protect the body. Initially, doctors told Kane's family that he would not live past four months.
Patty Wright, coordinator of the event and best friend of Kane's grandmother Rita Barlow, described the sum of the bills as "an exponential cost." She added that more bills are to come and that Kane needs more surgery.
"There's been a great response from the community," she said. "I went door-to-door with the flyers." She explained that she would ask for donations and people contributed without hesitation. An anonymous donor donated a BlackBerry PlayBook to the family. Chicopee-based attorney Stanley Szlachetka donated two wills and two powers of attorney to the family.
Wright said that more than 150 tickets have been sold and that some people have made donations despite being unable to attend the event. She added that numerous local businesses and residents have donated their goods and services to the family and as prizes for the event raffle. Thus far, 43 raffle baskets and 27 gift cards have been donated.
In addition, many celebrities such as Chuck Norris; Jeff Dunham; Steve Ford; Wayne Watson; Mathew West; Lee Greenwood; Rich Chamber; Mackenzie Rosman; Stephen Collins; and members of Casting Crowns have donated to the cause. Wright explained that she searched the Internet for celebrities that had public contact information and sent letters and emails describing Baby Kane's situation.
"East Mountain Country Club is going above and beyond with everything it's doing," Wright expressed. She said that other venues weren't willing to keep the cost low and were more interested in making a profit than helping the family.
She added, "I want to thank the community and everyone that's chipped in to help. It an age of the virtual community, where everything is online, we don't know our neighbors anymore. The outpouring of support has reassured me that a sense of community still exists."
Barlow said, "It's not the money, it's the support. The friendship and community support from everybody has been terrific."
She explained that she went through a similar situation when Kane's mother Kathleen was born. "I've walked through it. I've been in her shoes," she added. "The fact that she survived gives her hope for him."
Barlow continued, "Every time I hold Kane, I tell him to write his own book. He's a fighter. He's a very happy little boy. It's a hard road, but it's a doable road."
She explained that while Kane is able to stay home now, he travels once a week to Boston Children's Hospital or to his pediatrician to monitor his situation. Initially, the family received a letter in February from their insurance company that since Kane had exceeded his medical limits for 2012, he would be penalized for 2013.
Barlow explained that after communicating with the insurance company, whose computer system automatically generates such notices, all of Kane's prescriptions and pediatrician visits will be covered for 2013.
Tickets cost $35 per person. The price includes a donation for Kane, a dinner buffet and the 75-minute Cawley performance. Doors open at 6 p.m. for cocktails and appetizers. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. and the show will start at 8 p.m. A raffle will take place.
To make a donation or to purchase tickets, visit www.ti-elvis.com or call Wright at 977-9138. To donate raffle prizes or for more information, email email@example.com.
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