Kisses4Kate and all that jazz

Event set to aid children with cancer
Sep. 23, 2013 @ 06:11 PM

Kisses4Kate is turning back the clock this weekend for its annual fundraiser.

Created in memory of Thomasville's Kate Thornton, the nonprofit which helps families stricken with childhood cancer, will host Jazz n' Rags, a 1920s Bash fundraiser, on Sept. 28 at The Lofts at Union Square, 410 W. English Road in High Point. The event begins at 6 p.m. and features dinner, dancing, a silent auction and raffle.

Tickets are $50 for singles and $75 for couples.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," said Kat Manzella, Kisses4Kate executive director. "It's our big annual fundraiser and it's basically what supports all of our programs."

Like many other nonprofits, Kisses4Kate relies solely on donations to sustain such programs as Beads of Courage and Gowns4Girls. Comprised of an all-volunteer staff, Kisses4Kate provides emergency financial assistance to families with a child suffering from cancer. The organization helps families pay utility bills, make mortgage payments, buy groceries or meet co-pays. The nonprofit has provided assistance to four area families so far this year.

"The beautiful thing is that we are able to do that very quickly," Manzella said. "That's what makes us unusual. We can provide emergency funding when others can not. We can turn lights back on when they get turned off where others can not."

In addition to the financial assistance, Kisses4Kate funds programs are designed to help children who are battling cancer. The Beads of Courage program, introduced into Brenner Children's Hospital in 2011, chronicles a child's fight against cancer through beads which represent various stages of their journey. Manzella said more than 120 children at Brenners are involved in the program.

In 2012, Kisses4Kate launched its Gowns4Girls initiative. The program provides fashionable gowns, with sizes ranging from 3 to 10, to girls receiving cancer treatment. Kate Thornton, who was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 3, inspired the concept by refusing to wear traditional hospital gowns.

“I am not wearing that… princesses don’t wear that," Kate once said.

Kisses4Kate's latest initiative, which will formally be introduced at the ball, is called Pillows for Parents. Partnering with Industries for the Blind, Kisses4Kate designed the initiative as way to help family members who make long stays in the hospital while loved ones are receiving treatment.

"They are little bed rolls that roll up with memory foam in them so people can set them on benches and have a comfortable nights sleep," said Manzella. "We've developed a lot of different avenues to help not only in the financial aspect but supporting them in other ways."

On Mother's Day, Kisses4Kate and volunteers from Capelli Salons provided free makeovers to all the moms on the oncology floor at Brenners.

Jazz n' Rags is Kisses4Kate's lone fundraiser of the year, making its success vital to the nonprofit's viability. In addition to the dinner and dancing, the silent auction is loaded with big ticket items and the grand prize for the raffle is a trip to Reno.

To see some of the items up for auction, visit Kisses4Kate on Facebook. For more information on Jazz n' Rags, visit kisses4kate.org. 

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.