By Gina Martinez
A Whitestone basketball league raised $7,500 for a 6-year-old neighborhood girl fighting leukemia at its annual Basketball All Star Day last Saturday.
First-grader Chloe Mitchell was diagnosed with leukemia March 2 after falling ill during spring break vacation. Her mother Erin Mitchell started a GoFundMe page that has received support from all over the community and raised $39,799 of its $40,000 goal in the three weeks since it has been up.
The basketball fund-raiser was set up by Erin’s friend and neighbor, Tracey Sedowski, whose children go to school with Chloe. Tracey spoke with Jose Rodriguez, a member of the board of directors at Dwarf-Giraffe Athletic League, where Chloe pays instructional basketball and the league was more than happy to help. Dwarf-Giraffe has already raised $3,400 for Chloe and on Saturday the league matched the total scores of the eight different games played in monetary amount.
Mitchell said it is unbelievable how the Whitestone community has come together to help her family.
“I never imagined in a million years that this would happen to me,” she said. “Let alone the amount of support I would get. It’s been amazing. You know what’s funny? I was telling my mom who lives in the city — I lived in the city for 20 years — if I was still in Manhattan this wouldn’t be happening, because it’s such a transient community. I lived in the same building for years and I didn’t know who lived next door to me. Here you get to know everybody because it’s a small community and word spreads fast. It been unbelievable how much support we’ve gotten. There are no words.”
Mitchell gave an update on Chloe’s condition.
“She was in the hospital initially for five days and she started chemo. She’s home now and were doing treatment twice a week,” her mother said. “She has a couple of weeks left in the first phase of treatment, then she continues on. chemo for six months, then the maintenance period. The total treatment time is two years. But she’s OK so far. She hasn’t had too many side effects.”
Mitchell said Chloe isn’t really aware of the huge out pour of support.
“I’ve been telling her,” she said. “But I don’t think she really understands. She knows she’s been getting a lot of gifts, people are visiting and we were on the news. I know she knows she’s sick, but I don’t think she understands. She can’t go to school, which bothers her, but she doesn’t get it too much.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart