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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 1, 2009

Community rallies for “good all-round kid”

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — The rush to help 12-year-old Evan Kimmerer has been swift and sure.

On Sept. 20, he went to the emergency room at Albany Medical Center “with flu-like symptoms,” said Suzanne Hale, who has been spearheading fund-raising efforts for the Letterer family.

“He had an MRI and they found a tumor in his brain stem,” said Hale. “He had surgery Monday at noon and came home the following Sunday,” she said.

She has been to visit Evan and said he is in good spirits but is having trouble keeping food down.

Hale knows Evan because her son, Jack, has played baseball with him since the boys were 8 years old. The boys play baseball year-round, and the families involved in the Pine Bush Little League and Guilderland Babe Ruth have banded together to help him.

“He’s always at the baseball field,” Hale said of Evan. “If he doesn’t have a game, he’s there watching…He’s a fabulous pitcher and a home-run hitter.”

Beyond that, she said, “He’s a good all-round kid. He always has a smile.”

When Hale heard the news that Evan had a malignant brain tumor, she said, she knew the parents of other baseball players would want to help Cindy and Dave Letterer, Evan’s parents. Cindy Oppedisano Kimmerer is a hairdresser, and the plan is to raise money so she can stay home from work to tend to her son as he goes through cancer treatments.

Farnsworth Middle School, where Evan is a seventh-grader, was having an open house on Sept. 22, the day after Evan’s surgery. Hale had the idea of carrying a balloon so other parents on the Pine Bush team could find her and make contributions, she said.

“The school said we could set up a table. We raised about $6,000 in an hour-and-a-half,” said Hale.

The next day, she started working with Troy Miller, her friend and a local real-estate developer, to hold a hot-dog barbecue and fund-raiser in Altamont’s Orsini Park. The park was packed on Friday evening. “All 500 hot dogs were gone,” said Hale. “There were probably about 300 people,” she said. “It was all through word of mouth and Facebook.”

The Guilderland Chamber of Commerce also sent out an e-mail about the event, noting that Evan’s parent worked at Guilderland’s Poiema Salon, which is “offering any assistance they can.”

The e-mail goes on, “A family from our community is in need of our help. I know if we all come together, we can certainly help this boy and his family.”

The next event to raise funds for the Kimmerers is EV-FEST ’09, from 6 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 9 at Keenholts Park in Guilderland Center. The event will feature music, food, games, a silent auction, and a home-run derby.

Contributions may be made to: The Evan Kimmerer Fund, Post Office Box 182, Guilderland NY  12084. Further information is available online at www.TeamEvan.shutterfly.com.

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