September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Every single day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.

The average age of a child diagnosed is six years old.

12% of children diagnosed with cancer do not survive.

The statistics are grim. The images that accompany them are often difficult to look at or comprehend. And for those of us who have been lucky enough to avoid cancer’s terrible grasp, it may be difficult to relate to those who must fight their own personal battle, each and every day.

The easy path is to turn our heads away. But nothing can change until more of us become involved. Creating awareness is the first and most important step toward defeating an epidemic that is quickly growing out of control.

Because the fact is, cancer doesn’t care about age. It ignores gender, ethnicity, and socio-economics. Despite major advances – from an overall survival rate of 10 percent just 50 years ago to nearly 90 percent today — the number of diagnosed cases annually has not declined in nearly 20 years.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, an annual national health campaign by major childhood cancer organizations to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. In 2019, d’aprile properties has dedicated our collective philanthropic efforts toward the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, and their incredible efforts toward eliminating all forms of pediatric cancer.

A black doctor sits on the floor in front of large windows with her patient. The patient is a caucasian girl with cancer. The girl is wearing a scarf on her head. The doctor is talking and holding the girl’s hands. The child is smiling up at the doctor and listening intently. There is a large teddy bear on the floor next to them.

Pediatric forms of cancer are completely different than the types of cancer that affect adults. It remains the number one cause of death by disease in children — 1 in 8 will not survive. Out of those who do, 60% will suffer long-term side effects.

Yet despite these terrifying numbers, less than 4% of all cancer research dollars are allocated to children. What’s worse, only 4 cancer treatments have been specifically developed and approved for children in the last 20 years.

It is hard to imagine that a few dollars here or there could make a difference. But this isn’t just about money. It’s about fostering hope. It’s about reminding these amazing children that they still have a childhood, and that we will always stand by them and their families, no matter the odds.

If you would like to join our efforts, please visit our fundraising page and donate. Or contact your dedicated d’aprile properties real estate agent, and ask how you can join or support the #daprilecares Team in October’s A Walk for the Bear.

Follow Bear Necessities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about childhood cancer and their fight. By sharing their posts, you are creating awareness, and helping to spread the word about childhood cancer.

Meet Kaylee, our 2019 #daprilecares Ambassador, and read her story HERE.

Read more about our annual campaign for Bear Necessities, HERE.


#daprilecares — Meet Kaylee, Our 2019 Bear Necessities Ambassador

Spend just five minutes with her, and try not to be impressed by 10-year-old Kaylee Marth. Despite her youth, Kaylee is whip-smart — as quick with a joke as she is with her genuine smile. She balances that precocious intelligence with a quiet innocence, and though she may speak softly, there is a sense of conviction behind her every word.

The daughter of Rose and Dan Marth, Kaylee is a kind and compassionate free spirit, who loves to be outdoors and experience the world around her. She is an avid cook, and devours new books and movies every chance she gets. She already serves as a reading tutor to children her own age, as part of a school program. And to top it all off, she is an accomplished jazz and lyrical dancer — her team recently finished first overall at a national competition in Las Vegas. Put it all together, and it is hard not to be in awe of all she has accomplished in just her first decade. 

And that is before you come to realize that she is also a cancer survivor.

Kaylee’s mother Rose is a cherished member of the d’aprile properties family, working as an agent in our Hinsdale office, serving the western suburbs of Chicago. But for three tense and trying years prior, all of her time and effort was put toward helping her little girl fight a disease that no child or parent should ever have to face. 

“It was a scary time — our whole world came crashing down. We had to face the idea that we could possibly lose our baby.”

On January 7, 2013, doctors informed Rose that Kaylee had Pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of cancer found in the blood and bone marrow. With less than 200,000 reported cases a year, it is a rare disease, but highly treatable. Those first few days were a whirlwind for the Marth family; within 48 hours of her diagnosis, Kaylee had begun chemotherapy treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

The goal is to ensure that each child is in remission within 28 days of initiating treatment. Once the cancer cells are eliminated, the next stage is to increase and maintain the body’s defenses, ensuring that no relapse occurs. On March 14, 2015, Kaylee successfully ended her treatment, and is now cancer-free.

Despite already being her biggest fan, Rose couldn’t help but admire the grace that Kaylee showed in the face of such terrible circumstances. “Her personality throughout the whole ordeal was awesome. The truth is, she is the one who helped Dan and I get through, by always remaining bubbly and positive.”

Against such odds, it can be easy to forget what it’s like to be a kid. That’s when the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation came into the picture. After meeting with a social worker, Rose and Kaylee learned of the organization’s Bear Hug program, creating customized experiences in order to brighten the life of a child battling cancer.

“At first I was hesitant,” Rose recalls. “We had always been fortunate to have an amazing support system of family and friends around us. I thought surely there was someone else more in need than us.” But after it was explained that the focus of the program was to help kids rediscover their childhood, Rose and Kaylee were on board. Soon, the entire family was off to Universal Studios on behalf of Bear Necessities — and Kaylee was realizing her dream of visiting Harry Potter World first hand.

“The great thing about it is that you are so wrapped up in fighting the illness, that you forget that your children still need to have fun, and enjoy life,” Rose recalls. “When she first got sick, it took us so long before we would even go out to dinner. There were so many experiences that we kind of held back on. That Orlando trip was really the first time we left the house to spend time as a family — it turned what was a really dark time in our lives into smiles and laughter.”

“It’s definitely made us appreciate day-to-day life, even more than we did before” Rose states. “For us, it’s about giving back, and being thankful for her continued health, as well as many of the other kids we met along the way. Because you know, there were good stories, and some stories that weren’t so good. And once you’ve been through something like this, you just want to do all that you can to help others who know this pain.”

Today, Kaylee and her family take every opportunity to give back to those in need. It was Kaylee’s idea to turn her “End of Treatment” party into a fundraiser for kids with cancer. And in 2019, she is excited to join hands with d’aprile properties, and serve as the Bear Necessities Ambassador for our annual #daprilecares campaign. Our goal is to help BN in their mission to eliminate all forms of pediatric cancer.

If you would like to join us in the fight, please visit our our page and donate.

In the end, what advice does Rose have for other families who go through what hers went through? “You have to know that you will get through it. It may not seem like it now, it may not seem like it in a month. But you have to remain positive, for yourself and your child. If you can do that, you will somehow manage to pull through, even when you think you can’t.”


d’aprile West Town Walks the 606!

Photo Courtesy of choosechicago.com

On Friday, July 19, our West Town Chicago and Lakeview offices teamed up for our first annual Walk the 606 Event — a fundraiser to benefit the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

The 606 is a Chicago landmark — a linear park and trail network that combines art and history with event spaces and alternative transportation avenues. Over a decade in the making, the 606 was the signature project of Mayor Emanuel, and provides both residents and visitors alike with acres of breathtaking green space.

Our agents bravely endured the extreme temperatures (at one point reaching 107 on the heat index value), and raised over $1,000 for the cause, before coming together to cool off at Jack & Ginger’s pub.

We want to thank each and every team member for participating, and for raising awareness of this great Chicago foundation. d’aprile properties is committed to supporting Bear Necessities in their mission to eliminate pediatric cancer. If you would like to join us in our mission, please visit our fundraising page HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 


#daprilecares – 2019 Flagship Foundation – Bear Necessities

Grief exists alone among human emotions, in that it is born of both loss and of love. It never fades completely, but it does evolve. At times it comes in waves, threatening to crush our spirits and weigh down our hearts forever. But with the right mindset it can also inspire us over time, lifting us up to achieve things we never thought possible before.

On January 9, 1993, Kathleen A. Casey lost her son Barrett who, for five and a half years, had courageously battled Wilms Tumor, a form of pediatric cancer. Barrett, or ‘Bear’ as he was known to friends and family, had faced his circumstances with the kind of positivity and grace that seemed impossible for an adult, let alone a child of his years. As he endured countless hospital stays and painful medical procedures, he remained focused not on his own prognosis, but on the well-being of the other child cancer patients he encountered daily.

Early in this journey, Kathleen and Bear would come to realize that in the fight against pediatric cancer, the current system was losing the battle on two key fronts. First, there was an astonishing lack of research dollars being allocated for child forms of cancer. Despite being the number one cause of death by disease for children, less than three percent of funding went toward child cancers. And second, almost none of that money went directly to the children or their families, even as they sacrificed everything — emotionally and financially — in the face of almost insurmountable odds.

Prior to his passing, Barrett would spend hours with his mother discussing the formation of an organization, one that would reflect Bear’s own fighting spirit and desire to help others. This foundation would specifically fight pediatric forms of cancer, and streamline its efforts toward the children themselves, as well as the family members who never leave their bedsides.

Today, Kathleen is both Founder and CEO of the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, named after the bravest and most inspiring soul she had ever known. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year alone, Bear Necessities’ efforts funded more than $300,000 toward cutting-edge research. They also carried out 424 individual child/family experiences — known as Bear Hugs — looking to brighten the lives of afflicted children in whatever way they can.

Kathleen Casey and Bear Necessities have made their mission very clear: to forever fight, and someday eliminate, pediatric cancer. It is fair to say that, in many ways, Kathleen’s grief has defined her. She simply hasn’t allowed it to defeat her.

Through our 2019 #daprilecares campaign, d’aprile properties has pledged to stand beside her. Each year, our agents choose one philanthropic organization on which to focus our annual campaign. Through the combined efforts of our individual real estate agents and staff, we hope to do whatever we can to help these phenomenally brave children rediscover their childhood.

Charity begins at home. If you would like to join us in this fight, please visit our fundraising page HERE, or email daprilecares@daprileproperties.com today.

 


Making Our Own Luck

This past Saturday, March 16, our Naperville Agent Team proudly participated in the West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the fourth consecutive year! Our ‘Parade Mobile’ was all decked out, and our Canine Captain, Sydney, lead the way!

 

The parade attracts over 3,000 participants and more than 15,000 spectators, annually. It is a fantastic family event enjoyed by all ages, in celebration of Irish heritage and culture. 

 

We’d like to thank all of our agents and their family members who came out to make this another great event for d’aprile properties in the western suburbs! A special shout out to Martha Harrison, REALTOR®/Expert Truck Driver, whose skills behind the wheel allowed us to highlight our various real estate services.

A special thank you as well to Sue Liston and Operation Support Our Troops – America for their wonderful partnership (and generous candy donation)! We can’t wait until next year!

 


Enjoying the View From the Top

On January 26, d’aprile properties celebrated its fifth consecutive Summit event at the Chicago Downtown Marriott Magnificent Mile hotel. The year-end gala was sponsored by our dear friends and partners at Midwest Lending. This all-day event is truly the highlight of our year, where our agents, staff, and loan officer partners come together across four states to not only celebrate each others success and achievements, but also spend time together as a family.

The day portion began with a champagne toast and vendor expo, where attendees got to network with some of our most important business partners.

The audience then received a “State of the Company” presentation from our founder, Ryan D’Aprile. It was an opportunity to recap the company’s 2018 successes, while simultaneously getting a look at what the organization has in store for the future. He was followed by James Madejczyk, VP of Sales for our presenting sponsor, Midwest Lending, who provided an inside look at the mortgage industry in 2019. 

In the evening, it was time for everyone to let their hair down and have a little fun! A cocktail hour offered the chance for old friends to catch up…

…and an elegant dinner was followed by our annual awards ceremony, where agents were lauded for their sales achievements, their leadership, and their teamwork.

We want to take this moment to congratulate each and every one of our worthy award winners.

The entire event culminated in a silent auction whose proceeds were donated to Homes For Our Troops, our 2018 flagship charity organization, and one of America’s Top-Rated Veterans and Military Charities.

We cannot wait until next year!


Tips for Downsizing: Helping a Senior Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Let’s say hello again to guest-blogger Jim Vogel, co-founder of ElderAction. Jim and his wife Caroline dedicate their time to helping ensure that senior citizens thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information. Today he provides a somber but important message:

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific type of dementia that largely affects seniors over the age of 65. Over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s; 36 million people are affected worldwide. The disease can progress over the course of anywhere from two to 20 years, but the average amount of time people with Alzheimer’s live after diagnosis is only eight to 10 years. Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is very important. The earlier signs of dementia are caught, the more effective medications and therapy are at treating it.

Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:

  • Memory loss
  • Issues with planning and problem solving
  • Ordinary tasks are suddenly difficult
  • Confusion with times and places
  • Vision changes
  • Troubles with vocabulary and communication
  • Misplacing items
  • Poor judgments concerning things like money or hygiene
  • Social withdrawal and loss of motivation
  • Mood swings that include feeling depressed, scared, or anxious

 

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

Caregiving, Downsizing, and Alzheimer’s

If a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they will eventually need a caregiver to handle their needs. Caregiving involves ensuring they make it to doctor’s appointments, and emotionally supporting them in the event of a loss, among many other tasks. An important thing that caregivers can help Alzheimer’s patients with is beginning the process of downsizing. While an Alzheimer’s patient may be able to age in place during the early stages of the disease, they will need to move to an assisted living situation for their health and safety as it progresses. Starting the downsizing process as soon as possible will make that transition less stressful.

What to Throw Out

Ask friends or family if they have a paper shredder you can use during the downsizing process, because a lot of the trash will be documents and files that are no longer needed. A lot of the information in these documents may be useless, but it’s better to shred than be sorry. Also, prepare to throw out clothes that are unwearable — things that are stained, stretched out, ripped, or destroyed. If you really hate the idea of adding more clothing to your local landfill, you can give old threads a new life through a textile recycling program. You should also be prepared to throw out memorabilia, including old trophies, medals, and awards. And while you can hold on to some physical copies of photos, you’ll want to free up space by trashing a majority of them. Consider investing in a tablet and uploading images of each photo so your loved one can have a digital photo album they can flip through whenever they want.

 

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

What to Donate

Kitchen gadgets and small appliances (think: toaster, waffle iron, mixer, etc) are great donations for local charities, especially if they’re in good condition. Old holiday decorations are also great for thrift shops — just avoid donating things like strings of lights with the bulbs blown out. Finally, clothes that are in good enough condition to wear again can be donated to nonprofits. Consider looking into specific charities for certain outfits. For instance, if your loved one still has a number of office-appropriate dresses and suits in her closet, Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing them with clothes and skills they need to land a job.

What to Sell

Books and movies are perhaps the easiest items to sell, though you likely won’t make much off of what you get rid of. Contact your local used bookstores and see if they offer a pick-up service. Furniture is another smart thing to sell. List items on sites like Craigslist or Letgo to make some money off items that deserve a second chance. If you’re really motivated, try throwing a yard sale to get rid of everything from framed artwork to throw pillows. After the sale is done, you can contact a local thrift shop to pick up whatever is leftover.

Alzheimer’s patients may be able to care for themselves in the early stages, but eventually, a caretaker has to step in and help. One of the things to start with early is downsizing possessions for when they move out of their current home. Above all, caregivers should be there physically and emotionally for their senior loved ones during the downsizing process.

 

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay


What It Means to Serve – Military Family Appreciation Month

Today, more than two million courageous men and women proudly serve their country, representing the United States military and its reserve components. These individuals, serving both domestically and abroad, wake up each and every morning with one purpose: to defend the principles on which this nation was founded, so that its citizens can live free. 

They are Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines, Sailors, and Soldiers. They selflessly sacrifice their lives for a cause greater than themselves, and they deserve all the support and respect that we as their fellow countrymen can offer. But we must never forget those who stand beside our servicemen and women every day, even as they are forced to stay behind.

They are the heroes on the homefront: the spouses, children, and parents of our military members, who answer the call with dignity and grace. While they may not wear a uniform, they know precisely what it means to serve their country. Bearing the heavy burden of long deployments and difficult moves, these steadfast patriots often put their own careers on hold, in order to support their family and protect their household.

They’re your neighbors. They go to school with your children, and you see them at the grocery store. And while their struggle takes place daily, they bear their burden in silence, so those they advocate see nothing but strength and stability.

November is Military Family Month, and it is our duty to honor and support the families of our troops and veterans for their unwavering devotion and contribution to our freedom.

In 2018, d’aprile properties continues to partner with Homes For Our Troops, widely recognized as one of America’s Top-Rated Veterans and Military Charities for seven consecutive years. A privately funded nonprofit organization, they build and donate specifically adapted custom homes nationwide to post-9/11 veterans and their families. To join us in this cause, visit our fundraising page HERE.

These people are the backbone of our military, the fuel that keeps the home fire burning. If you’re looking for a way to personally salute the heroic families who stand by our armed forces, remember that even the smallest act of kindness can bring welcome relief to those who simply long to see their loved ones come home safe.

  • Say “Thank you”
  • Write them a note
  • Leave a care package at their door
  • Offer to babysit
  • Volunteer your time by shoveling their walkway, or carrying their groceries
  • Donate to a veterans’ charity on their behalf

Or when in doubt, simply ASK them what they need. Because each and every one of us, no matter how strong, can benefit from the charity of others. We rise by lifting each other.

 


#daprilecares – Homes For Our Troops Honor Walk!

 

This past Saturday, d’aprile properties was proud to take part in the Honor Walk for our flagship charity campaign, Homes For Our Troops!
Homes For Our Troops is widely recognized as one of America’s Top-Rated Veterans and Military Charities for seven consecutive years. A privately funded nonprofit organization, they build and donate specifically adapted custom homes nationwide to post-9/11 veterans with significant injuries.

Our agents and their families, along with our partners at Midwest Lending, joined together as a family to walk a 5k in various locations around the Midwest, in order to raise money for this incredible organization. The weather was perfect, as everyone enjoyed a fun-filled day of family fun.

 

A special thanks to our good friends at our very special ‘Finish Line’ celebration locations, including Pier 290 on Geneva Lake, Cortland’s Garage in the northwest suburbs, and Vines on Clark in the heart of Lakeview.
Until next year!

 


#daprilecares – Let’s Keep a Good Thing Going

They say charity begins at home, and we wholeheartedly agree.  

But it can’t end there.

When choosing the focus of our 2017 flagship charitable campaign, we at d’aprile properties were looking to support a local organization whose efforts go beyond mere fundraising.  That’s why we chose to partner with Misericordia, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for persons with mild to profound developmental disabilities.  The staff at Misericordia not only provide housing and medical assistance to those in their care; they focus on maximizing their potential.  The goal is to help residents find purpose in their everyday lives through personal interaction, meaningful employment, and a sense of community.  Nothing builds courage like a feeling of independence. 

But you can’t truly understand the scope of this mission until you see it in action.  So we decided to tour the Misericordia facilities at 6300 N Ridge Ave., to get a better idea of all that they accomplish day in, and day out.  Because the truth is, we don’t need to save the lives of these amazing individuals.  The dedicated team at Misericordia is already doing that.  We just want to help give them the means to continue their incredible work, in whatever way we can.

When you first step foot on the 31-acre Rogers Park campus, you can’t help but be in awe of of the scope of Misericorida’s endeavors.  More than 600 children and adults live and work on these grounds, from all manner of racial, economic, and religious backgrounds.  Misericordia’s Executive Director, Sister Rosemary Connelly, guides the Sisters of Mercy and almost 1,000 staff members in their efforts to ensure that each and every resident is housed, cared for, and encouraged to grow as an individual.  

The home itself provides the full continuum of care to meet the diverse needs of residents whose ages currently range from infants to senior citizens. But beyond that, Misericorida is a fully-functioning community, offering services that provide education, spiritual guidance, and a variety of social and recreational activities.  Many residents are encouraged to work off campus at various Chicago businesses, while others provide all manner of services to outside companies who outsource their projects directly to campus.

 

And we haven’t even mentioned the incredible art department, the fully functioning bakery, or the coffee grounding and packaging service that operate right on campus!  You see, while Misericordia receives funds from entities such as the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, they cannot fund the cause on government aid alone.  They rely on the hard work and dedication of their residents and staff, along with the generous donations from corporations, foundations, individuals, and families.  And they could use your help.

That is why throughout the remainder of the year, d’aprile properties will be bringing stories of courage and dedication, directly from the residents and families supported by this incredible organization.  We hope you you might join us on this mission, to help raise funds and ensure that some of Chicago’s most important citizens are given the chance to live the life they deserve.  

To donate, simply click on this link:  https://www.firstgiving.com/misericordia/daprile