Damage Control is proud to organize and help sponsor an upcoming fundraising event to benefit the A Miracle for Ava Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
A Miracle for Ava was started as a fundraiser by the parents of Ava Gioe to help find a cure for her. Ava was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric brain cancer which took her life in July of 2012 at the age of five. They have since turned the organization into a foundation to help find a cure for other children diagnosed with the same and similar tumors. To learn more about A Miracle for Ava or to donate directly to the Foundation, please visit www.amiracleforava.org or their Facebook page.
While preparing for this event Cindy Jackson, Office Manager at Damage Control, has had the pleasure of getting to know Ava’s mother, Gianni Gioe. “Some of us at Damage Control had been following Ava’s journey on Facebook, and were just heartbroken for her family when she lost her battle,” says Cindy. “Gianni was always very open about her feelings going through all of it and I kind of felt like I knew her already. I am thrilled to able to help plan this event and to get to know her personally. I can’t even imagine what she is going through, but I admire that she is continuing the organization for other families that are experiencing a similar situation.”
The benefit is scheduled for Friday, February 22 at the Olyphant Ambulance building at 530 East Park Street in Olyphant, beginning at 6pm. There will be live entertainment by Nowhere Slow from 6 to 7:30 and Johnny D w/ special guests starting at 7:30. $10 entry includes 2 drinks (beer & soda) and a ticket for the door prize. Additional raffle tickets will be available to buy for the many wonderful baskets and gift cards donated by area businesses and individuals. We will be selling pizza by the slice and additional drinks for $1.
ALL proceeds from this event will be given directly to the AMFA Foundation. AMFA has advised us that 100% of the proceeds will be forwarded to the Cancer Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, specifically the Neuro-oncology Department.
Please contact Cindy at 341-1500 or [email protected] if you are interested in participating in the fundraiser in any way.
“It’s not can or can’t. It’s do or don’t.” This is one of Stephanie Jallen’s mottos. And she lives by it. She really feels that nothing is impossible. Considering what she has accomplished, she may be right!
Stephanie Jallen was born with a rare birth defect called CHILD (Congenital Hemidysplasia with Ichthyosis and Limb Displacement) Syndrome, which caused her to be born with underdeveloped limbs on her left side. Her left leg was amputated at birth and her left arm is very short without a developed hand. She has been living a “normal” life; school, friends, activities. At age 9 her family received a notice in the mail about a ski camp for disabled kids. She attended and the rest, as they say, is history. She loved it. She met Mau Thompson, who became her development coach. Mau taught Stephanie to ski, and quickly realized she had the potential to become a racer.
Since then, Stephanie has made skiing her main focus. Most recently, her goal is to represent the United States at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. When asked if she had any other hobbies or interests, she said, “It’s hard to do anything else,” noting the amount of time it takes to train, remain in shape and work towards her goal.
She knows, however, that she can’t do it alone. She has much support, originally from her family and Mau, and more recently her strength trainer, Ernie Baul at All American Fitness in Plains. He works with her between three and five days a week to improve her strength and modifies the training for Stephanie’s special circumstances. “It’s a battle all the time,” Stephanie said, referring to the task of strengthening both side of her body equally while not being able to exercise them in the same ways. She also spends time spinning to get her cardio workouts.
Stephanie credits Ernie, and Mau as well, for her success. “I have definitely achieved a higher level then I ever would have without them.”
Stephanie’s school has also been very supportive. She is a junior at Wyoming Area and as long as she can uphold a 3.5 GPA, they allow her to take her work with her and take the time off that she needs in order to train. When I asked her if there was anything she wanted to say, she made sure to thank them and everyone who was and is instrumental in her achieving her success.
She has spent two years on the US Paralympic Ski Team, and her next goal is in sight. “It’s thirteen months away,” she said, referring to the 2014 Olympics. When asked if she thinks that she will be going, she was very matter-of-fact. “I am close and I am on the right path,” citing she has already qualified in 3 out of 5 events, but said, “Nobody knows at this point whether it will be a yes or no.” The determination is based on the qualifying events as well as a points system, and the team is not announced until shortly before the Games actually begin. Stephanie stated that she still has the rest of this year to prepare and qualify.
I had asked Stephanie about when she was younger. I had heard that she had some issues with her prosthetics. She said that she did use the leg a lot for about 7 years, but then the skin rashes, which are a part of her condition, began to reappear forcing her to resort to a crutch. Her prosthetic arm was a different story. “I hated it,” she said. “It was never worth it. I could always do more without it then I could ever do with it on.”
Suffice it to say, this young lady has done more in her sixteen years than many of us have in twice that much time. That reminds me of another motto of hers which Ernie sometimes has her recite during training. We (people with two arms and legs) are “cheaters.”
Damage Control is proud to be a continued sponsor of Miss Jallen and the Stephanie Jallen Paralympic Fund. See Stephanie’s journey and follow her progress on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stephanie.jallen.731 and her website www.stephaniejallen.org.
First Responders Appreciation Night
Damage Control is happy to announce our Third Annual First Responders Appreciation Night! The event will be on Thursday, March 14th from 6:30-9:00 pm at the Damage Control facility at 342 Main Street, Eynon. All area first responders and their families are invited to attend. As a “thank you” for all they do, we want to give all of our area emergency personnel a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy an evening of catered food, drinks and prizes, all free of charge. Please pass the word along to any police, fire and EMS workers you know.
Employee of the Year
We would like to congratulate restoration technician Jon Feldman on receiving Damage Control’s Employee of the Year award for 2012. Jon began working with us at the very beginning of the year and has consistently shown a positive attitude. He does everything he is asked to do without complaint. Jeff Skrilow, our company President, said, “Jon is a pleasure to work with. He definitely fits into our motto of ‘No Whining,’” which hangs in all the offices here at DCI. He is also an asset to the company because not only is he able to do the mitigation jobs, but also possesses the skills to help with the rebuild portion of the jobs, if needed. Congratulations, Jon!
Welcome Michael Bracey
We would like to officially welcome our new Business Development Coordinator, Michael Bracey. Chances are you may have already met him. He has been making the rounds to area insurance agencies and businesses since he began work here in November. If you haven’t met him yet, you probably will soon!
Michael has worked in business development for the past 11 years, first with an environmental services company, and most recently marketing a pipeline database to life science companies in North America.
When asked what made him decide he wanted to work for Damage Control, he said it was “… because of the company’s commitment to quality and customer service. I was impressed by the respectful work environment, and DCI’s community involvement through its various sponsorships to local causes. I was quite impressed with the fact that everyone at DCI makes a concerted effort to live up to its mission statement in responding quickly and efficiently to control the damage to the structure AND the client.”
Michael is a native of Scranton, and attended Scranton Central High School and the University of Scranton. He currently lives in the Minooka section of the city with his wife, Jaimie, and their two daughters.