A gift for MJ: Community holds drive-by Christmas parade for five-year-old cancer patient12/20/2022 03:20PM ● By Richard Gaw
Photo by Mackenzie Fox Five-year-old Lincoln University resident Maryjane “MJ” Facer received a 104-vehicle Christmas parade past her home on Dec. 16 that was made up of two fire departments, two police departments, a transportation company, local businesses and community residents.
By Richard L Gaw
When Lincoln University resident Mackenzie Fox, a Lincoln University photographer, first established a social media page for her friend Katyrose Veinot’s five-year-old daughter Maryjane Facer on Nov. 25, she was hoping a few friends and fellow residents would turn out for a Christmas drive-by parade that she was planning for Maryjane on Dec. 16.
The parade would be for a very special reason: Maryjane, known as “MJ,” was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney in June, a diagnosis that has in recent weeks been elevated to the Stage 5 level and been exacerbated by the growth of rare tumors. Over the past several months, MJ’s world – and the world of her family, which includes two three-year-old twin sisters McKenna and Jordan – has been marked by endless visits to the A.I. Children’s Hospital in Wilmington for treatment for radiation and chemotherapy, the removal of one of MJ’s kidneys and the application of a feeding tube. Because of her illness, MJ was forced to delay the start of kindergarten this fall.
Soon after MJ received the diagnosis, Fox established a meal train for the family that provides delivery of meals prepared by volunteers in the Lincoln University community, and this fall, she set up a GoFundMe page that has to date raised over $1,700 to help defray the family’s medical costs.
The response to the social media post announcing the drive-by parade was immediate and resounding, but when Fox and a team of volunteers gathered at the Christian Life Center on Dec. 16 to coordinate the parade, they had no idea how many who expressed interest in the event would actually participate. At 5:30 p.m., one half-hour before the parade was to take off to the Wheatland Farm development where MJ lives, a string of white vehicle lights began to appear, that stretched from Route 896 to the church’s entrance.
By the time the parade left the parking lot, it stretched hundreds of feet and included 104 vehicles, with representation from residents, the Union Fire Company in Oxford; the West Grove Fire Department; the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department; the State Police-Avondale; the Krapf Group; and Bobcat Septic. Additional partners included The Fence Authority, Acme of Avondale, Kimball Creations and Brittany Reisler Photography, as well as an appearance from Santa Claus.
Fox said she was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community and local businesses and organizations.
“An event like this shows that everyone is truly coming together for one little girl who could really use a few smiles right now,” she said. “Being able to give MJ something to look forward to is a welcome departure from all of the horrible things she has had to go through.”
“This is what it’s all about,” said Tracey Ehrhart, Fox’s mother. “We are often called upon to be the hands and feet for others who need our assistance, and tonight, we lent both to MJ. “This is an example of sharing God’s love, and the community is showing that love by being here and saying, ‘We want to be a part of this.’
“Tonight, we shine a bright light during one family’s difficult time.”
If you would like to make a donation to the GoFundMe campaign for MJ, visit www.gofundme.com/f/mj-facer-fighting-stage-5-kidney-cancer. All funds will go directly to Katyrose Veinot, MJ’s mother.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].