The third annual Paige’s Princess Run & Carnival will take place next Saturday, May 18 at 9 a.m. at Wyandot Early Childhood School, 7667 Summerlin Boulevard, in Liberty Township.
The event includes a run or walk that ends with a full carnival for kids of all ages. The carnival will have inflatables, face painting, a petting zoo, food and drinks and even a pony.
It is a family event that benefits local patients of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital with chronic disabilities held in memory of Paige Alessandro, a former Kindergarten at Wyandot Elementary.
To register or donate, go to paigesprincessrun.com.
In March, The Cincinnati Enquirer ran a story (below) about the foundation.
“Are you Paige’s mom?”
Heather Alessandro loves to hear that question, especially now. Heather knows that she is about to hear something nice about her daughter.
“She just had a way of making people feel good about life,” Heather said. “She was extremely happy all of the time. I think that is what made people gravitate toward her.”
Paige died in May 2010 from acute liver failure at age 6. She was a kindergartner at Wyandot Early Childhood School in Liberty Township.Doctors never could diagnose what was wrong with Paige, but her family called it spinal vascular disease. It caused her to suffer many physical limitations, making her sit out of recess and other activities.
Heather and Bre Griffith, Paige’s teacher, witnessed other children fight for Paige’s attention. When she had to sit out of an activity, the rest of the class wanted to follow suit.
“They all competed for her attention,” Griffith said. “You would never know that there was anything lacking in her life. Everyone wanted to be friends with her.”
A picture of Paige dressed as a princess and her tiny Bengals jersey are still on display in Griffith’s classroom.
Her spirit is also carried on in a much more significant way through Paige’s Princess Foundation. It was created by Heather in 2011 and provides grants to pediatric patients who need therapeutic services and equipment that might not be covered by insurance.
After donating more than $30,000 to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Occupational and Physical Therapy department in 2011, the foundation modified its outreach program in 2012 and provided 45 families with assistance through referrals from the hospital.
“It is probably the most special part of my life now, being able to take Paige’s spirit and meet all these other kids who are somewhat like her and help them in a small way,” Heather said.
The foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the Princess Run, will take place May 18.
The donations will help local children, like Trey Couch, 11, a student at Independence Elementary in Liberty Township. Trey’s family doesn’t know the origin of his Cerebral Atrophy, a disease that causes his muscles to deteriorate.
“The disease has affected his entire world,” said Gina Couch, his mother. “Football and basketball, this is his world, and even though he doesn’t play, he is still on the team and his boys have his back.”
Recently, the disease has reached his hands and he is unable to write. In response, the foundation presented him with an iPad in March. The foundation also provides Trey with lessons taught by a therapist every week.
“The foundation opens up doors to things,” his mother said. “These are opportunities that never interested my son.’’