Monday, March 25, 2013

3rd Annual JTSF Crab Feed

The 3rd Annual JTSF Crab Feed
Saturday, June 15, 2013
1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Kerry's Green 
150 Country Club Rd., Red Lion, PA 17356 

Tickets are $35 per adult, $10 for kids under 12 and free for kids under 3! 
Purchase your tickets right here on the blog! 
No tickets will be sold the day of the event, you must have a ticket to enter!

Hi friends!

We would like to give you some more information about our 3rd Annual Crab Feed which will be held at a new location this year! Of course, nothing has changed about the importance of this event! All proceeds benefit children and families in our area who are battling childhood cancer. Please join us on Father's Day weekend to celebrate these families, remember those who cannot be with us and raise awareness and a lot of money!

We are extending a big thank you to Kerry's Green for becoming our new home to this beloved event.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. and run until 5 p.m. featuring all-you-can-eat fresh steamed, Maryland blue crab from the fine folks at She's Got Crabs! Additionally  we feature hot dogs, picnic side dishes and more desserts than you can handle!

Beverages will be provided, non-alcoholic and alcoholic (sodas, tea, water and beer). Unlike in the past, this event is not BYOB. Please pass this along to friends who may have attended our event in prior years. If you have any questions about this please contact us at

JTSF merchandise will be available for purchase. There will be a cash raffle as well as a few other special raffle prizes.

If you cannot join us and would like to make a donation (monetary or in-kind), please visit our Facebook page or reach out to Savannah Smith at!

We appreciate your gracious support and look forward to seeing you at Kerry's Green on June 15th! These tickets make a fantastic Father's Day gift and help support the fight against childhood cancer. Get yours today!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nick Pantalone

There is never an easy way to write a post like this. Days like these are horrible and there are no words that can describe what this family is suffering through.

This morning at 4:30 a.m. our friend and inspiration Nick Pantalone lost his battle with cancer. His parents say he passed peacefully in his sleep with his family by his side.

Nick was an indescribably amazing person. While battling desmoplastic round cell tumors, Nick was a sophomore at Lebanon Valley College and rarely missed classes. He maintained his own CaringBridge where his posts were uplifting, enlightening and educational. I always felt like I was learning important life lessons reading Nick's blog. 

Even while battling cancer Nick never slowed down or let his diagnosis stand in his way. He was his
high school's valedictorian, student council president, spanish club and drama club vice president, and a ride operator at Hershey Park. I was so overly thrilled to see him running The Comet one day that I visited with the Weinsheimer family that I hopped out of the seat just to run up and give him a hug (and held up the ride). Nick had a passion for roller coasters and dreamed of becoming a theme park manager. 


I have had the pleasure of working with Anna Ungar this year both as a dear friend and as my committee member. She knew Nick very well and had this to say:

I’ve been trying to find the right words to say, but there are no right words when another young person is taken by cancer. Nick was the single most amazing person I’ve ever had the privilege to be friends with. His positivity and warm smile were contagious, and he inspired countless people, some of whom he never even met. Nick completely changed my life in the best way possible. He didn’t let cancer define him, and even though I met him through THON, he was never my friend with cancer – he was just my friend. Cancer took Nick from us far too early, but it will never take away his memory, the inspiration he has given to so many people, or the love his family and friends will always hold in their hearts for him. Throughout his battle with cancer, he always made time for his friends and family, and never lost his positive attitude. Nick’s favorite movie was Meet the Robinsons, and he always told me, “Keep moving forward.” So we will keep moving forward for him, in hopes that one day we will find a cure and no other family will have to go through what Nick’s family is going through right now. Everyone please keep Nick’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers. Nick fought hard until the very end, and now we will continue the fight for him. - Anna Ungar via Onward State

Anna has organized a way to support and lift up the Pantalone family during this painful time. She wants to help flood their mailbox with cards and letters of support and love. 

I remember our mailbox was so filled for weeks after losing Jed that reading the mail every day was an event in and of itself. Reading memories and stories was something to treasure.

Please, if you have a moment we would love you to share your stories and memories of Nick for the Pantalone's. If you did not know Nick, we encourage you to send along your words of comfort and love to this incredible family.

Cards and letters can be sent to Savannah Smith at 229 S. Sparks St. APT 24, State College, PA 16801 (please make sure these are double enveloped) and will be forwarded on to the Pantalone family. Please send these as soon as possible!

Friday, March 22, 2013

JTSF Rockstar | Gabrielle Chapman (March)

Gabrielle is a very empathetic child. She is always willing to help anyone at any time and is such a spirited, delightful girl.  She is a brain cancer survivor and is quite the "scrapper”. She wears her heart on her sleeve!  She loves to color and play with her older sister, Elizabeth. She goes on Facebook to talk to all of her Penn State Dance Marathon friends that adopted her family from Penn State Abington. “We love Penn State and THON is everything to our family because they helped save our daughters life. That is a very important part of our life.”  

When Gab was diagnosed she had fallen and hit her head. Two days after the fall her doctor thought Gabrielle had a virus because she was walking like she was drunk. Following that viral diagnosis, Gabrielle received a CT scan and then her family was told to take her back to the doctor. The Chapman family went from the doctor’s office where they received the CT scan results. Immediately following, they were sent to see a neurosurgeon the Penn State Hershey Medical Center neurosurgeon where they stayed overnight to receive an MRI.

The MRI results showed that Gab had a 4 cm tumor at the base of her cerebellum. She received brain surgery to remove the tumor and this gave the Chapman’s the official diagnosis of Medullablastoma. She started chemotherapy two weeks later.


Gabrielle received one month of in-patient chemo and one month of chemotherapy at home. The Chapman’s learned everything about chemo, even how to give it to her in her n/g tube. They gave their daughter Neupogen shots too. Neupogen (filgrastim) is an injection of a drug that helps your body make white blood cells.

Additionally she received a stem cell transplant. This is where the patient’s cells are taken out of their body, separated from the blood stream and frozen. The patient receives a mega-dose of chemotherapy and then the stem cells are injected back into the patient. This is called an autologous transplant because it uses the patient’s own cells but the cancer cells are removed or destroyed and only the good cells are used.

After this procedure Gab had a restriction of 100 days where she was not permitted to be in physical contact with anyone except immediate family. This also meant she had to repeat all her immunizations.

However, since then she has been only visiting the hospital for outpatient clinic visits. Gabrielle has been cancer free for 6 years!

Gabrielle is just plain awesome and so very determined. Her parents say that she is always closing the gap that was put in front of her because of the delays her cancer caused. She is a spunky and very fun little girl who has a big life ahead of her.

Her parent’s biggest hope for her is that her cancer never comes back.  They want Gab to get caught up in all aspects of her life but also be a kid as long as possible! She always says she wants to grow up to be a teacher. One time her mom asked her why and Gabrielle responded, “I just want to help people!” 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crab Feed Tickets

Hello all!

Crab Feed tickets are now on sale! You're at the right place too!
Check out the right hand side of the blog above the "Donate Now" button and you should see the PayPal drop down button for Crab Feed tickets!

Note: This is not viewable on mobile devices! If you can read this post but do not see the right-hand column, try visiting us on a computer! We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Some important notes on purchasing tickets:

  • If your purchasing option is not available (say you'd like to buy 8 adult tickets, but we only offer 4 at a time), please select "1 Adult Ticket" and then visit your cart and you are able to change the quantity!
  • If no matter what you do, your purchasing option is not available, you may have to do two transactions. It sucks, and we're SO SORRY. However, we will reimburse you the shipping in cash when we send you your tickets.
  • Your tickets will be mailed to your PAYPAL ADDRESS. Please make sure that your PayPal address is correct!
  • Email us if you have any questions! or leave us a comment on our Facebook page!
We can't wait to see you on June 15th! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

iPad Donation!

Yesterday we unveiled a secret we've been keeping for a while now and delivered 8 new iPad Mini's to the pediatric outpatient clinic at the brand new Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital!



This has been an amazing experience for us and it would not be possible without Michael and Catherine Avon and their family and also Vance Martin. These three people have made such an amazing gift possible and we can never thank them enough! You are very special to us and now to lots of kids who will play with these iPads during infusions, as a distraction before procedures and when they're just in clinic hanging around getting their treatments.


We delivered them yesterday with a big posse of friends and family. Our friends Trish, Jordan and Nonna came along for support and showed off their JTSF gear! Jordan also delivered the first iPad to Becky, clinic's Child Life Specialist, and our awesome friend.

When Jordan was a baby his parents would bring him into the hospital to visit Jed almost three times a week. His older brother, Jackson, was in treatment with Jed and is now hanging out in heaven with him. Coincidentally, we also share a last name with them so there were often two J. Smith's on the floor! It seemed fitting for us that Jed's favorite baby (now growing up so fast) hand off this awesome donation that Jed would be so excited about!


Big thanks to our friend Alek for also coming along and helping to hand off the first iPad to a patient to use! Seth was over the moon for a chance to play Hillclimb Racer and couldn't stop smiling! This was definitely one of the highlights of the day! Thanks Seth for making this super special and we hope everyone enjoys these for years to come.

One of the new infusion bays in clinic - just one of the spaces where the kids can use these iPads

Each iPad is protected in an OtterBox case with an easy to wipe down screen cover. The back has a small plaque to remember Jed and thank our donors. We decked out the background in our logo and pre-loaded them with over 20 apps (games, puzzles, social media apps and more).



We also took a short tour of the upstairs inpatient hem/onc unit because the last time we saw it, it was incomplete! It was wonderful to see our favorite nurses and give so many hugs!

The new children's hospital really thought of almost everything. Even the chairs in the lobby are kid-sized and have little duck feet on the bottom. I tested them out, they're perfect!


Again, thanks to the Avons and Vance because without loving and caring people like you we would not have been able to make this day possible! THANK YOU!