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November 29, 2012

Shining lights for a cause

Tonawanda News — Patty Kabala has a dream.

It’s a simple dream, really ... hundreds, even thousands, of twinkling white lights in the trees and lining the homes of her Kenmore street. And every light represents money going to a cause to help the children of Western New York.

This is the third year of the Moore Avenue Shines campaign, which started Sunday and runs through Jan. 2. It’s a local branch of the Stony Brook Shines for Others campaign in the Lancaster neighborhood, which has been running for five years and has donated thousands to charities from Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo to Carly’s Club last year.

Kabala — who loves decorating and in fact owns a business making holiday wreaths — became involved in 2010 after hearing about Stony Brook Shines from a neighbor’s mother. Last year, people at 25 homes participated. Now, she’s just trying to get things to grow.

“We’re just asking our neighbors to put up a string of white lights,” she said. “If we could get it even to 26 houses ... that would be awesome.”

You don’t have to live on Moore Avenue to participate. You don’t even have to live in Kenmore. Just hang your white lights in honor of the season and the effort and send a donation to Kabala at 29 Moore Ave. by Dec. 10. Donations will be sent to Stony Brook Shines to be included in the ultimate donation to Ronald McDonald House of Buffalo.

Kabala didn’t know this when she first spoke to me this week at the Tonawanda News, but I have more than the usual wants-to-help-kids reason to be glad they’re donating to a Ronald McDonald House this year. So here’s our story, one I’ve told here before: 

At 5 months old, my firstborn son needed open heart surgery. We’d known this since before he was even born, but that doesn’t make it easier. The surgery was scheduled to take place at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester. We thought we’d need to drive back and forth (not likely, with an infant in the ICU) or get a hotel for however long Jim’s stay was — from five days to two weeks, if there weren’t any complications, doctors said.

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