Very Important Updates re: Hell’s Kitchen and DVC Lacrosse Benefit

Sorry for the changes every couple of days, but we confirmed the date of the Hell’s Kitchen episode air date.  The Hell’s Kitchen episode that we filmed in September 2013 will actually air next Wednesday, 11/19/14.  I was able to connect to the producer of the show and she verified this is the correct episode.  She told me they were trying to add a card at the end of the episode to recognize Lauren, although it is last minute so they aren’t sure it will happen.  These people are incredible!  If you can, set your DVRs to Hell’s Kitchen Wednesday night 11/19/14.

We have received updated information from Diablo Valley College Lacrosse Team.  This is what they posted on their website: “…the 11-1 Vikings will begin preparing for their next game as they host an outstanding Dominican University program led by “friend of the program” and President of the CJCLA, Matt Blamey during the American Cancer Society Benefit game.  The game should be incredibly exciting and emotional for the Vikings after a pregame ceremony that will honor Lauren McCullough, who spoke courageously and eloquently a year ago about her fight with Ewing’s sarcoma and inspired the crowd about the importance of living each day to the fullest.  Though Lauren passed from us on Sunday, February 2nd, 2014, her parents, Deanne and John will be on hand as we will officially retire the #1 jersey that we issued to her during last year’s event.  A gold ribbon with the #1 and her initials will forever adorn Viking lacrosse helmets and uniforms, as future Vikings will learn of Lauren, her message, and her importance to Viking Lacrosse and DVC. A suggested donation of $10 for adults and $2 for students of any age will be appreciated and collected directly by an American Cancer Society volunteer at the gate.  It is predicted to be great weather for the event, so please consider joining us at 7:00 p.m. to honor Lauren, who was an outstanding swimmer and student at DVC…and stick around to support the 11-1 Vikings against another MCLA Division I team.”

Lauren’s dad and I are so humbled by the care and affection the DVC Lacrosse Team is showing towards Lauren and her enthusiasm for life and looking at the positive in any situation.  The game is being held at DVC on Saturday, 11/15/14 at 7:00 pm in the stadium.  If anyone is in the Pleasant Hill/Walnut Creek area, we hope you can join us at the event to support the team and their efforts to bring awareness to childhood cancer.  Lauren would be so happy to see her message continue on.  Here is a link to their page: http://dvc.stage.lacrosseshift.com/news/vikings-roll-4-wins-against-1

Important Hell’s Kitchen Updated Air Date

When looking at the episode summaries, we now believe Lauren’s Hell’s Kitchen episode will air this Wednesday, November 12, 2014. Our episode had a member of ZZ Top at the dinner, and the 11/12/14 episode is a Rock and Roll episode. The episode after that is an Indian Cuisine episode. Our dinner did not have any Indian dishes on the menu. If you should miss the episode, it will be available to view on Fox.com eight days after it airs. We are hoping to see shots of Lauren enjoying the experience, but we won’t know until it airs if we get to see her smiling face on TV.

DVC Lacrosse and Hell’s Kitchen Updates

The Diablo Valley College Lacrosse Team will be hosting their second annual American Cancer Society benefit game on Saturday, November 15, 2014. The game begins at 7:00 pm at the Diablo Valley College stadium in Pleasant Hill, CA.  They will be honoring Lauren McCullough and retiring the #1 jersey that they presented her last year.  Lauren’s parents will be there to speak and accept the jersey for Lauren. Please come to support this team and their continuing efforts in raising awareness of childhood cancer, Lauren’s #1 mission.  Click on the link for more information.

http://dvc.stage.lacrosseshift.com/event/american-cancer-society-benefi

Lauren was personally invited by Chef Gordon Ramsay to attend the filming of a Hell’s Kitchen episode last September 2013. That episode is due to air on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 on Fox.  We don’t know if Lauren will make it on air, but look for her, her dad, mom, and a Dream Foundation representative, Dawn Reid, on the red team side of the restaurant, near the front.  The food was fabulous!  This was an incredible dream for Lauren, since Gordon Ramsay is her most favorite chef of all. He treated her like a celebrity and was so nice to her (Nothing like how he treats his competing chefs on the show!).  Please check your local Fox station for the time in your area.  The attached pictures are from the filming last year.gordon 5 gordon

Lauren’s Celebration of Life Video

Lauren’s celebration of life was held February 22, 2014 at Laguna Creek High School, her alma mater.  The school celebrated her life with the choir singing songs, the swim team helping to greet guests, the color guard presenting the flag, ASB setting up the gym and multi-purpose room, and the activities director and principal organizing and attending the entire event.  Lauren would have been so honored.  The attached video was made by the Laguna Creek High School Video Club.  Special thanks to Nicole Skinner, Class of 2014, who made the film possible.

For those who were unable to attend Lauren’s service, please click on the link to hear the beautiful things that were said about Lauren’s life and fighting spirit.  We thank all who sent caring messages of support for the family.

Relay For Life San Lorenzo, CA

I want to invite you to please come join in the fun and listen to music at The Relay for Life event to be held at the Arroyo High school track (Grant Avenue, San Lorenzo) beginning Saturday, August 9th 9:00 am until Sunday, Aug 10th 8:00 am (closing ceremony) for the American Cancer Society. Come whenever you can and stay as long as you would like, but please bring some donation money so you can participate in the many games and activities or to buy special trinkets or food presented by the 15 teams in the Relay. All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

My team named thenotdyinggirl came together to address Pediatric Cancer, which is an unfinished item on the bucket list of my niece, Lauren McCullough. The name is from her blog http://thenotdyinggirl.com in which she narrates her experience of getting the most out of her life while fighting Ewing’s Sarcoma.
For more information, or to donate to the team: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/TheNotDyingGirl

Our team will sponsor the “swim lap” at 5:00 pm. Relay participants will don pool gear and “swim” the lap around the track. Don’t miss the very special Luminaria Ceremony at 9:00 pm which will include a perspective offered by my sister Deanne, Mom of Lauren, and my performance of the song I wrote for all parents, but especially for Deanne, called “Let You Go”. This is my first Relay, but I have heard they are very inspirational and fun.

If you are interested in music here are the bands that will play through out the day: The Fossil Farm Band at 10:00 am, The Standing Still Band at 3:00 pm, Hudson Street Band at 6:00 pm, and Bayfire at 7:30 pm

If you can not come, but wish to make a donation, this is the link to my page: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/CatherineKavasch

Thank you for helping to fight cancer!
Catherine Kavasch

Team LaurenStrong

The First Annual Team LaurenStrong St. Baldrick’s event will take place Tuesday, April 22, 2014.  The event will take place at BJ’s Brewhouse on Laguna Blvd. in Elk Grove, CA.  Team LaurenStrong is dedicated to continuing Lauren’s message that childhood cancer exists and needs research funding to give kids better outcomes.  Lauren’s dad and brother, John and Mark, will be shavee’s, as well as Lauren’s BFF Kevin and 8-year-old neighbor Owen.  Anyone who would like to join Team LaurenStrong is welcome!  Of course, anyone can sponsor a shavee on the team too!  Please stop by the event to show your support if you are in the area that day.  The shaving will take place 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm.  http://www.stbaldricks.org/teams/mypage/93071/2014

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In addition, BJ’s Brewhouse will donate 15% of food sales between 11:00 am and 9:00 pm for anyone who presents an food donation event flyer that day.  A flyer is attached to this post for your convenience.  Please help to raise funds for childhood cancer research and honor Lauren’s wishes to continue to bring awareness to childhood cancer.Image

Lauren’s Celebration of Life and Her Legacy

Lauren’s Celebration of Life was a very touching event on February 22, 2014. There were somewhere around 500-600 people in attendance, with people from all areas of her life. Some people read her blog or heard her on the radio and felt compelled to attend, although they had never met her in person. As parents, her dad and I were extremely touched that Lauren had such an effect on so many people. Lauren wanted people to know that cancer happens to young people and her message certainly got out.

Laguna Creek High School was instrumental in converting the gym and multipurpose room into warm, inviting rooms. The principal, Doug Craig, and activities director, Jerry Haynes, were on site since the early morning until everything was taken down in the afternoon. The ASB set up all the chairs and tables and the LCHS swim team handed out the programs and memory pages for guests to note memories of Lauren. Lauren’s cousin, Leslie Kavasch, designed the program and my bosses, Chris and Valerie Rhodes supplied the printing. As the celebration was about to begin, the ROTC came in with the flags to present the colors. This was the wonderful idea of one of the members, who had wrestled with Lauren and is now a senior at the school. The high school choir sang some beautiful songs during the service, including a touching version of “Tears in Heaven.”

There was an opening slide show that is attached to this post and is also available on YouTube that Lauren’s uncle, Kent Kavasch made. The “babysit” co-op was in full attendance at the service, with Steve McKibben leading the prayers and Howard Davis speaking about the co-op and memories of Lauren growing up. One of Lauren’s teachers, Eric Johnson, spoke about having Lauren as a student. Next was one of her high school swim coaches, Brenda Smart. Brenda touched on Lauren’s stubborn nature and how, once she trusted you, she trusted you completely.

Egor spoke about how Lauren had affected his life and how important their friendship was. It was so emotional to see his pain and obvious love for Lauren. They were true “best friends forever.” There was a short tribute video that I found on YouTube that we didn’t know had been made. It turns out it was made by a previous classmate from high school. The clip has also been attached to this post. Lauren’s aunt, Catherine Kavasch, spoke about Lauren’s desire to get more awareness of childhood cancer and how she wanted research funded, if not for her, for other kids yet to be diagnosed.

The celebration ended with the wedding video. If anyone has missed watching the video, it is on her blog that she posted October 22nd. Be warned, you will need Kleenex while watching. It was important to show the video because at the end Lauren thanks everyone for their support. She was truly thankful to everyone who wrote kind words, sent her cards, or gave her unique experiences. She felt her life had purpose when so many followed her blog and sent messages of support.

Following the wedding video, guests were invited to the multipurpose room for some food and drinks. The food was really good and was provided by Plaza del Sol in Elk Grove. The owner and his wife helped serve the food during the entire reception. Around the perimeter of the room were beautiful tables that had mementos from Lauren’s many activities. There were six tables that represented the co-op, high school, swim, other sports, Kaiser, and the wedding. They were beautifully set up, just like a high-end store or museum.

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The babysit co-op made the entire celebration possible. They came over and helped put the table items together days before the service, arranged for the flowers, supplied the desserts, and set up the multipurpose room so beautifully. In addition, they had set up a beach chair, palm tree, and a water-looking backdrop at the front of the gym. It was so Lauren! We are truly blessed to be surrounded by such caring people who truly loved Lauren as their own.

Slide Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1YLi6lBhn0

Tribute Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkiNICVo188

LCHS Anti-bullying Assembly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZSAESLFs70

Bay Area Article: http://us.topnewstoday.org/us/article/9771502/

Obituary: http://www.egcitizen.com/articles/2012/07/17/lifestyle/doc5005f12e4b0d8588674944.txt

DVC Lacrosse Article: http://dvc.stage.lacrosseshift.com/news/oh-captain

DVC Paper: http://www.dvcinquirer.com/news/2014/02/11/dvc-swimmer-loses-battle-to-cancer/

 

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Since the service, there have been many people helping to keep Lauren’s message out there. KCRA did a follow-up story and I was interviewed by Beth Ruyak at Capital Public Radio. It’s still amazing how Lauren made such an impact on the people at KCRA and Capital Public Radio. I hope they realize the impact they made on Lauren.

There was a St. Baldrick’s event in Sacramento on March 10th. Steve McKibben shaved his head for Lauren, including another 20 more on Team Lauren. As a team, they raised over $5500 for childhood cancer research. Overall, the event had 259 participants who raised a total of $143,646. That will certainly make a difference to children diagnosed with cancer! In addition to Team Lauren, one of Lauren’s oncology family, Eden Melgoza, had a personal participant. Eden’s six year old brother, Mason, decided to get his head shaved in honor of Eden and in memory of Andrew Rundle and Lauren. He raised over $1200 in one weekend. What a big heart he has!  Travis Air Force Serviceman, Rob, showed up for the event and participated too.  He followed Lauren’s blog and visited her in the hospital in January so he could meet her.

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There will be an Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s event on April 22nd from 4:00 – 8:00 at BJ’s Brewhouse. BJ’s will donate 15% of their food sales from 11:00 – 9:00 that day to St. Baldrick’s for every flyer that is presented. Lauren’s brother, Mark, has a good friend who is on Team LaurenStrong. Brice will be shaving his head, along with two of his brothers, Chris and Parker. Parker is 14 years old and this will be his 7th time participating in St. Baldrick’s. Mark, dad, and I get to shave the three brothers’ hair that day. They have been growing their hair all year for this event. People can join Team LaurenStrong or start their own team for the event. See the attached page from St. Baldrick’s. http://www.stbaldricks.org/events/laurenstrong

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Bring the BJ’s flyer to the April 22nd St. Baldrick’s event to have 15% of food sales donated to St. Baldrick’s to support childhood cancer research.

Diablo Valley College will recognize Lauren at the school level, conference level, and the state level. Plans are in the early stages, but it is so awesome that they feel so strongly about honoring Lauren. She loved that school and it appears the school loved her back.  The DVC Swim Team created a large banner that is displayed at the pool for all to see.  It simply says, “We are LaurenStrong.”  They also presented the family with a special photo album/scrap book of the swim team and Lauren.  It touched our hearts.  Also, the DVC Lacrosse team will retire the #1 jersey that they presented Lauren with at a match in the Fall.

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Lauren’s aunt, Catherine Kavasch, has set up a team for Relay for Life in San Lorenzo called “The Not Dying Girl.” It will be held August 9th. The page can be reached here: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY14CA?team_id=1573192&pg=team&fr_id=57861&__utma=2443503.1371112106.1395637240.1395637240.1395637240.1&__utmb=2443503.4.10.1395637240&__utmc=2443503&__utmx=-&__utmz=2443503.1395637240.1.1.utmcsr=main.acsevents.org|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY14National&__utmv=-&__utmk=155796792

 

KCRA Update: https://vimeo.com/89264483

Insight with Beth Ruyak: http://www.capradio.org/news/insight/2014/03/13/insight-031314/

If anyone would like to continue to get the message out that children get cancer, please ask the government to support research efforts and find an event to participate in. Many people think, “It’s not my child.” Three years ago it wasn’t our child either. Cancer does not discriminate.