“Care to Party” = a party to care for the Josh Cares Kids
- Monique Sewell, Lynn Pierce and sister Debbie Sauers, and Mike Sewell visit at the 2016 Spring Affair event
- 2016 Spring Affair guests Mike and Carolyn Collette visit with Pam and Les Irvine
- 2016 Josh Cares Spring Affair guests Mary Cassidy, Carter Randolph, Gina Strohm, and Bob Vieson
Celebration – noun 1. The action of marking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social activity. For 12 years, residents in Cincinnati have celebrated the life of Josh Helfrich, and in his memory, the wonderful successes of the charity established in his name—Josh Cares.
Josh was the son of Ann and Mark Helfrich. Josh was 10 years-old when he suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a bicycling accident in 2004. Josh was treated at Cincinnati Children’s for several days prior to his death. While by his side every moment, his family noticed there were many other children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit who did not receive a single visitor the entire time they were there. Following his death, the Helfrich family, along with Dan and Lynn Pierce, established the Child Life Fellowship Program in 2005 with the goal of ensuring that no critically ill child endures a lengthy hospitalization alone, feeling afraid and abandoned. The program began with two annual fellows in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and has grown to six positions serving patients in all critical and chronic care units of the hospital, including the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. In 2011, a permanent senior level position was established to provide team leadership and community outreach support. In the fall of 2012, all five annual fellowship positions were converted to minimum two year terms with the opportunity for the most exemplary and passionate fellows to remain with the program long term. The term “Fellow” has been removed from their title and renamed: Josh Cares Child Life Specialists. “Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher every time you succeed,” stated Mia Hamm, Gold Medal Winning Women’s Soccer Player.
- Last year, the six Josh Cares Child Life Specialists spent over 25,000 hours caring for girls and boys at Cincinnati Children’s.
- Last year, Josh Cares provided comfort and care to its 2,000th child.
- Last year, Josh Cares reached the milestone of raising $2 million toward the Child Life Specialist program.
“The community has really supported our team by giving generously to Josh Cares. Millions of dollars have been invested through our organization into the Child Life Specialist program at Cincinnati Children’s. We are proud to play a small part in helping to make the ‘CLS’ program the largest and best of its type in the world.”
In 2017, that bar will indeed be raised a little higher when the charity will announce, at its annual soiree, a new goal for support of the Child Life Specialist program. This Ain’t No “Rubber Chicken Dinner!” Josh Cares annual fundraising gala for many years was known by the name “Fire and Ice,” and was held at the Pierce’s home in Indian Hill. A few years ago, the event changed its name to the Spring Affair and moved away from the Pierce residence. This year’s Spring Affair will be held from 7 p.m. - Midnight, Saturday, April 29 at the 21C hotel located at 609 Walnut Street in downtown Cincinnati. The theme will be “Care to Party—A Party to Care for the Josh Cares Kids.” The 2017 Spring Affair will celebrate a dozen years of raising money for Josh Cares, including over $400,000 from guests and sponsors during the past four iterations of the party. Lynn Pierce once again chairs the event which she likes to say “is one of the only fundraising events where you can ‘leave both your tie and checkbook at home.’”
Joining Lynn on the planning committee are Wendy Barney, Tracy DiGennaro, Karen Grimes, Leigh Ann Meurer, Monique Sewell and Sheryl McConney. A cocktail reception and dinner will be held from 7-8:30 p.m., followed by a short program. From 9 p.m. – Midnight the dance floor will be open with entertainment provided by the Rumplestiltskin Band, a very lively nine- piece ensemble out of Akron, Ohio. McConney is appreciative of all the work the planning committee is putting into making the event a success saying, “I cannot thank the ladies on the committee enough for all the time they put into making this year’s party another night to remember. I attend a lot of events throughout the year and I can assure you this is no rubber chicken dinner. People look forward to this event each year just to see what Lynn and her team have put together to entertain all of us.” If you “Care to Party” this year’s Spring Affair promises to be another night to remember, all while supporting the Josh Cares mission of—providing companionship and comfort to children hospitalized in critical and chronic care units at Cincinnati Children’s. For more details and ticket information, please visit the Josh Cares website at www.joshcares.org