‘Magic for a cure’ to benefit family

(left to right) Edward Cayo, Nicholas Redmond-Cayo and Michelle Cayo of Granby will be honored at a fund-raiser on Feb. 18 at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee. Proceeds will help offset the costs of Nicholas’ medical bills. He is undergoing treatment for pediatric cancer at Children’s Hospital Boston. (top) The New England Patriots provided the Cayo family with a signed football, courtesy of quarterback Tom Brady, to auction at the fund-raiser for Nicholas Redmond-Cayo.
Reminder Publications submitted photos
Jan. 30, 2012

By Katelyn Gendron

katelyn@thereminder.com

GRANBY — Sept. 3, 2011 was a Saturday like any other for the Cayo family: Edward Cayo went to work at Yankee Candle and his wife, Michelle Cayo, was home with their son, 12-year-old Nicholas Redmond-Cayo. However, a trip to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield that morning made this day anything but ordinary.

Nicholas was diagnosed with a hypothalamic astrocytoma, a malignant brain tumor, and underwent surgery to remove it on Sept. 7 at Children’s Hospital Boston. Five months later, Edward has given up his job to be Nicholas’ full-time caregiver and Michelle, a loan review officer at Country Bank in Ware, had to scale back her hours. To help defray the cost of medical and travel expenses, family and friends are organizing a benefit for the Cayos on Feb. 18 at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee.

“She never said a word to us [about bills],” Nancy Carey, Michelle’s sister-in-law and an organizer of the fund-raiser, said. “The travel expenses are just phenomenal. I just wanted them to concentrate on Nick and not have to worry about paying their mortgage or other bills.”

Nancy and her husband, Tim Carey, teamed up with another family member, Tanyelle Duchesne, and Michelle’s colleagues on the Professional Women’s Council to create the benefit.

“She’s a Type A can-do person and does things for everybody else,” Janet Casey, treasurer of the Professional Women’s Chamber, said of Michelle, who serves as vice chair. “To see her facing rough days we wanted to do something to help her family.

“This could happen to any of us. Cancer hits everybody. There’s nothing that Nicholas did to get this. You can look at any family in the world and cancer is definitely a part of their history and if it’s not, it will be,” she continued.

Speaking from Nicholas’ room at Children’s Hospital Boston on Jan. 25, Michelle called the benefit a huge surprise. “I’m just so grateful to have family and friends who would do something like this,” she added.

Nicholas was admitted to the hospital last week due to an adverse reaction to his latest round of chemotherapy.

“He just started his 30 weeks of chemo on Jan. 9 and he’s had a difficult reaction to the drugs. He’s severely dehydrated and he’s lost 10 pounds over the past two weeks because he can’t eat. They put in a feeding tube and we plan to be here until Monday [Jan. 30],” Michelle explained.

This is Nicholas’ second round of chemotherapy after receiving six weeks in the fall, in addition to 33 radiation treatments.

“It’s overwhelming and you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Michelle said of life since her son’s diagnosis.

“The whole family came and rallied around him,” she added, noting Edward’s exceptional sacrifice to be Nicholas’ full-time caregiver.

“So much support and love has been given by his father. He gave up his job to be with him. He’s there feeding him and giving him fluids. He’s actually not Nick’s biological father but he’s been in his life since he was 2. He’s going to be officially adopting Nicholas in about five or six weeks,” Michelle explained, pausing for a moment to compose herself. “At night only one parent can stay [in the hospital] and he wants Ed. He is his dad in every sense of the word.”

Michelle described her son’s prognosis as “positive,” even in light of his recent struggles with the chemotherapy.

She noted the doctor’s at Children’s Hospital Boston are “going after it [the cancer] aggressively.”

Michelle hopes that after this round of chemo is over in August or September, Nicholas may return to classes — currently he’s tutored at home — at East Meadow School.

To make a donation to the Cayo family, visit any Country Bank location and make check’s payable to “Nick’s Magic for a Cure.”

The benefit will take place on Feb. 18 from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Drive, Chicopee.

Tickets are $20 per adult and $10 for children 12 years and younger. The evening will include a DJ, dinner, cash bar and Chinese raffle featuring a football signed by New England Patriot Tom Brady, among other prizes.

Donations for the raffle are still being accepted and may be made by contacting the Careys at 452-4190 or Duchesne at 626-3604 or by email at Nicksmagicforacure@gmail.com.

Additional updates on the fund-raiser can be found on the event’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Nicks-Magic-For-A-Cure/204628802962684.



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