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Shoe Drive Underway To Assist Brocton Family

Pictured is the Abbey family of Brocton. A shoe drive through Funds2orgs will benefit the family as Ryan Abbey, a father of five, recovers from his bout with leukemia. Submitted photo

BROCTON — The Brocton community has another opportunity to help out a local family going through a tough time.

Due to the medical hardship of Ryan Abbey, a father of five in Brocton, the Abbey family is in need of assistance. To help out, Beckie Ross, a longtime teacher at Westfield Academy and Central School, has organized a shoe drive through Funds2orgs.

Ryan Abbey was diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia in early June, after an initial diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome. Ryan has been undergoing treatment for months, including chemotherapy, to treat the disease. He recently underwent a bone marrow procedure, thanks to his oldest son, Blake, who was a match and donated “without a thought of it at all,” according to Ross.

Recently, the family has returned home after spending months of their time in the Buffalo area, with a base at the Kevin Guest House — the nation’s first independent healthcare hospitality house, founded in 1972 — in between treatments at Roswell Park.

Ryan’s cancer is now in remission and he has been cleared to continue his recovery at the family’s Brocton home.

This past fall, a spaghetti fundraiser was organized by Ross for the Abbey family to help with travel and lodging costs as Ryan underwent treatment in Buffalo, along with other expenses from being unable to work throughout the treatment process. Ryan and his wife, Tanya, were both unable to work throughout the duration of his time in Buffalo, as Tanya became his full-time caregiver.

The spaghetti fundraiser this past fall raised over $4,000 for the Abbey family, while another $4,000 was raised through selling t-shirts designed by 26 Shirts. Through other donations over the recent months, the total raised for the family so far is approximately $10,000.

“It really makes you feel good to make that big of a dent,” Ross said.

According to its website, Funds2orgs is the nation’s largest shoe drive fundraising company. Funds2orgs accepts new or lightly-used shoes in exchange for a monetary return to assist with charitable efforts. The shoes are then distributed to micro-enterprise shops around the world, where they are sold at an affordable price.

“It’s a win for everyone involved. We get to help a family that deserves the help, we can help others in need around the world, and we’re helping the earth by keeping the shoes from winding up in a landfill,” said Ross.

For the ongoing shoe drive, which began in early March and will run through early May, a goal has been set of 100 bags full of shoes with 25 pairs of shoes filling each bag. So far, more than two bags of shoes have already been collected.

“I’m amazed by other people’s support. Everybody has been really kind, and the family is very appreciative,” Ross said.

To set up a time to donate or for more information, contact Beckie Ross at (716) 679-8452. More information on Funds2orgs is available online at funds2orgs.com.

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