An 11-year-old Mays Landing girl who won a Facebook contest for a free party with friends decided to donate it to area children dealing with cancer.
The party was held Saturday afternoon at Gilda’s Club of South Jersey in Linwood. The guests included about 20 children touched by cancer — those battling it themselves or experiencing it through family members.
The winner of the party, sixth-grader Angelica Cabral, said she was inspired by the experiences of a former schoolmate, 9-year-old Christian Clopp, a student at the George L. Hess Educational Complex in Mays Landing who died of brain cancer in February 2012.
“I felt bad for his family, I felt bad for him,” said Angelica, who wore a sparkly Superman cape to the party.
Angelica, who now attends the William Davies Middle School, said she wanted to give her party to others dealing with cancer.
“If I made them smile for one day, that’s one day in their life that’s better,” she said.
Northfield resident Becca Salani was at the party with her son Nico, 8, who was diagnosed with leukemia in May.
“He’s not in school, so this is a lot of his social outlet,” she said of Gilda’s Club events and Saturday’s party.
Lori Stranges is the program manager of Noogieland, the children’s support program at Gilda’s Club of South Jersey.
Stranges said the party’s theme was superheroes, an appropriate choice for children affected by cancer.
The fact that the party was donated by a little girl made it all the more special.
“It’s nice for children experiencing difficult times to see other children have compassion and express,” Stranges said. “How special is that to see a child give to another? They’re very grateful. They get this deep understanding that maybe other children that haven’t had a tough situation do not have.”
Cheryl Falcone, Angelica’s mother, said her daughter entered and won a Facebook contest through an Internet party business named I Believe in Glitter, with a party that includes a create-your-own-cupcake station.
“She said, ‘I would like to do something for kids with cancer,’” Falcone said. “I would have been happy if she used the party for herself, but I’m happier she’s doing this from the kindness of her heart.”
Desiree Carmona, of Buena, a hostess for I Believe in Glitter, which has locations in Syracuse, N.Y., and Hammonton, said the 2-year-old company ran a Valentine’s Day promotion on Facebook for a free party for eight girls.
The party subsequently grew in size and in scope.
“It’s the first time we’ll be doing anything like this,” Carmona said. “Usually children in that age group, it’s all about me, me. And for her to be so selfless, we’re psyched.”
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