A 9-year-old Richfield girl’s cousin was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and while her cousin was being treated at Children’s Hospital she kept asking her mom what she could do to help.
Hallie Lofy’s 2year-old cousin, Bradan Hermes, was diagnosed with an extrarenal malignant rhabdoid tumor, a rare form of cancer that affects 5-15 children a year in North America.
Bradan died about a month ago, but Lofy and her friend Grace Rochon, 8, are raising money to buy a blanket warmer for the HOT Unit at Children’s Hospital in his honor.
Lofy and Rochon are tae kwon do students at JK Lee Black Belt Academy in Germantown. To get their black belt, they must complete a community service project, so the girls decided to do something for Children’s Hospital.
“(Bradan) had an aggressive type of cancer and me and my brother kept asking my mom how we could help him,” Lofy said. “Our first idea was to get a mini-refrigerator in each room because there was only one refrigerator, but somebody had done that.” “So, we came up with the idea of blanket warmers,” Rochon added. Michelle Lofy, Hallie Lofy’s mom, said a blanket warmer was on Children’s Hospital’s wish list of needs. She said when children are cold when they get chemotherapy or get out of surgery and the warming cabinet is used before the blankets are given to patients.
A warming cabinet costs $5,000 and they are about halfway to their goal. Hallie Lofy and Rochon have sold pizzas, homemade jam and salsa to reach their goal.
Rochon said they are creating calendars featuring tae kwon do forms, or patterns, to learn for each belt.
“We’re going to do a calendar and each month has a different form on it to help students practice,” Michelle Lofy said.
Hallie Lofy and Rochon will also make customized plaques that can be used to hang medals, according to Michelle Lofy.
Michelle Rochon, Grace Rochon’s mom, said she loves the project because Grace and Hallie have been doing a large portion of the work and it’s neat to see how excited they are about the project.
Grace Rochon said it feels good to help other people and Hallie Lofy said it means a lot because she was really close to Bradan.
Michelle Lofy said even though Bradan won’t be able to benefit from the blanket warmer, she hopes other kids will take comfort and parents will be comforted because their child is more comfortable.
“Grace and I didn’t know Bradan and it was because they were in class together they asked us about the project,” Michelle Rochon said. “It’s a tragic thing, but they’re trying to look on the bright side of it. He’s touched so many lives in such a short time. Through this cabinet he will continue to live on and be remembered.”
(Story from the West Bend Daily News)