Water Mill Community Notes, July 25

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News gets around our little hamlet, whether it’s good or bad. Of course, we like the former better but we’ve got to live with the latter. That doesn’t make it any easier.So it was heartbreaking to hear that the Birdsall family had some news recently that has rocked them to the core: the three-year-old grandson of Dave and Sue, son of Danny and Shawna Birdsall, has leukemia. Drew is getting treatment at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, first as an inpatient, but now as an outpatient; the treatment is expected to last several years.

To say that the last six weeks have been a roller coaster for the family, which also includes baby sister, Layla, would be an understatement. They’ve had to relocate to Memphis so that Drew can get his continued treatment, which is the easy part compared to watching your son suffer through a course of treatment that makes you sicker before you get better.

The good news is that Drew is responding well to treatment but, as you can imagine, the family has incurred a load of unexpected expenses. To help with at least one burden, a family member has started a fundraising website with the goal of raising $100,000. Amazingly, as of early this week, the tally was more than $80,000. If that much money can be raised in just several weeks, it should be a piece of cake to get that number over the top by the end of the month.

Please take the time to check out the site, http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/will-you-join-drew-s-crew-/68062/update/57903, or just Google “Drews Crew” and it’s the first entry. You can easily donate there plus you can read the blog by Drew’s parents documenting this emotional journey, as well as photos of Drew and his family taken along the way.

No doubt, everyone in our community joins me in sending the Birdsall family good wishes, prayers and a load of hope that Drew beats this thing with minimal suffering.

Just one week from Saturday, the field next to the Burnett Field House will be decked out for the annual Taste of Water Mill party. Saturday, August 3, is the big date and this is the primary fundraiser for the Water Mill Community Club, supporting its scholarships awarded to local students. The event is open to members, as well as friends, family and guests. In other words, membership is not required to attend this wonderful event. Individual prepaid tickets are still only $65 and tables of eight are $495.

A club built upon the spirit of volunteerism and community involvement, the Water Mill Community Club, no surprise, relies on volunteers to help with every element of the event. The event’s committee is seeking volunteers, starting with tent set-up, which took place yesterday. If it rains, the set-up will be postponed until Thursday.

On Friday, August 2, at 5:30 p.m. volunteers are needed to help set up tables and chairs, decorate, prep food, move plants and anything else that can be done in advance.

The final touches will be completed on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Youth volunteers are needed the night of the party, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Then, of course, comes clean up time, often the most difficult to get volunteers. If you can help out, get there around 10 a.m. The tent and dance floor will be taken down on Monday evening at 5 p.m.

Community service hours will be awarded to high school students for any of the dates or times listed above. For more information, call Cindy Corwith or Danny McKeever at 726-4772 or 291-7558, or Eileen or Tom Noonan at 726-4899 or (516) 848-7500.

News still trickles in from colleges about local students and their academic achievements. Just last week, Grist heard about Karina Fengler of Water Mill, a music education major, who has been named to the dean’s list for the spring 2013 semester at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. Located in Princeton, New Jersey, Westminster Choir College prepares musicians for careers as performers and as music leaders in schools, universities, churches and professional and community organizations.

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