(Contest Nominee) GABBY KRAUSE FOUNDATION Celebrates Decade of Delivering Smiles to Kids Fighting Cancer

Citywide Banks employees have nominated seven Colorado charities to compete in its Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place on Facebook from July 7-21, 2014. The community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. $8,000 in cash donations will be split between nominees based on the voting results.  Facebook Voting Page

For 5-year-old Gabby Krause, fighting brain cancer was brutal for her, and her parents, as you can imagine. But one thing that helped her maintain a positive attitude, even through numerous rounds chemotherapy and radiation, was that she had a bag filled with fun toys, games, and books to keep her occupied and distracted.  “She called it her ‘bag of fun’,” explained Tammy Krause, Gabby’s mother and the founder and executive director of the local nonprofit dedicated to her legacy. “She asked me several times why other kids didn’t have one.”

Sadly, Gabby passed away in September 2004, 19 months after she was first diagnosed. To honor her legacy,  Gabby’s family and friends launched the Gabby Krause Foundation (GKF). The foundation’s mission is to celebrate the healing power of Laughter, Love and Joy through its Bags of Fun program.

Inspired by Gabby’s wish, GKF now creates and hand delivers its customized backpacks to children at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Denver Health Medical Center, and other treatment locations.

“This organization was started by a bunch of people with big hearts, wanting to honor the request of a six-year-old and now almost 10 years later we’re still here and helping close to 400 kids a year,” says Krause.

“Our goal was for every child fighting cancer to get a bag of fun,” explained Krause. She and a close group of friends and volunteers set out to fulfill that goal by delivering bags filled with toys, books, manipulative games, crafts and an electronic item in each bag every week to children fighting cancer. In 2005, these electronic items were portable DVD players and gameboys. Now they include Kindles, iPads or a Nintendo DS. Each bag is age and gender specific.  Most of the volunteers have seen first-hand this transition, as they have been with the foundation since the beginning.

Krause says their organization is unique because they work so closely with the hospital and know that they are providing the means for children to experience the healing powers of a smile.

Krause works closely with the hospital and play therapists to make sure the games and toys are appropriate, helpful and educational. Girls’ bags, for example, may include crafts, jewelry kits and/or nails kits and boys get dartboards or remote control cars or helicopters. A perennial favorite of both genders is ‘noise putty’ that, as Krause explains, is a small mound of putty that makes funny noises similar to the old-style whoopee cushion.

Krause and a team of long time dedicated volunteers assemble the bags themselves and then deliver about 5 to 13 of them a week, depending on the hospital’s needs. In total they’ve delivered about 2,600 bags to children in Colorado fighting chronic or long-term disease.

GKF holds one major fundraiser a year called Bring out the Bags, a family-fun event held at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, as well as several smaller ones throughout the summer and early fall. This year, Bring out the Bags will be on September 27. During this summer, GKF will host swim-a-thons at multiple community pools, a June Jam Block Party on June 21, and its Second Annual Twilight Golf Gala on August 16. Most of the events are open to the public. Full event details are available at www.BagsofFun.org.

“The swim-a-thons are an exciting addition because it’s kids helping kids. They’re swimming for other kids that can’t swim,” says Krause.

A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would enable the foundation to deliver bags of fun to about 13 more kids challenged with cancer or another serious medical condition.

For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.BagsofFun.org or follow GKF on Facebook.  Check out VIDEOS about GKF.

 

How to Give Gabby Krause Foundation a Hand-Up

  1. “LIKE” THEM ON FACEBOOK during the July contest (charity nominee with biggest % increase in Facebook followers will receive an extra $500 donation from Citywide Banks)
  2. VOTE FOR THEM on contest voting page at Citywide Banks Facebook page (charity nominee with most votes will get $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks)
  3. POST A COMMENT about what you like about GKF on Citywide Banks Facebook page
  4. SHARE posts about this contest and GKF with your family, friends, and coworkers (tell them to support GKF)

About the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contest
For more than 50 years, family owned, Colorado focused Citywide Banks has been a passionate champion of our local charities. Our Charity Hand-Up Contests spotlight seven Colorado causes nominated by bank employees. Then, based on a 15-day community vote on Facebook, Citywide Banks splits $8,000 in donations to the nominees. The charity with the most votes receives the top $5,000 donation. Contest voters can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/contest/.

How to Cast Your Vote – July 7-21, 2014
The contest is open to the general public within the Denver/Boulder community (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at  www.Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to submit a vote/entry online. One vote/entry per person is permitted during the 15-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity. There is even an added bonus prize drawing for those voters that post the contest on their own Facebook timeline.

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