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Name: Maria Sansalone

Favorite Charity: Griffin's Friends Children's Cancer Fund at Baystate Children's Hospital

Website: www.griffinsfriends.com

We met the GRIFFIN'S FRIENDS Child Life Specialist in 1999, soon after it was determined that our son would start his first course of chemotherapy (a two-year ordeal for a then 3-year-old, one of many over his life). GRIFFIN'S FRIENDS (named in memory of Griffin Kelleher) provides direct emotional/social support to kids and families on treatment at Baystate Children's Hospital in western Massachusetts, and has continued to do so for their 17 years of existence! Their activities are geared to support kids, their sibs, and families as they undergo testing and treatment for all kinds of cancer and blood-borne illnesses. Their mission is simple: "Bringing Moments of Joy to Courageous Kids."

Our son William unfortunately did not survive his last treatment at age 10--GRIFFIN'S FRIENDS walked with us, all the way. We can't think of any better organization to help give back, in his memory.

My husband and I have scoured FIRE MOUNTAIN to find just the right items for our TREASURE TABLES that we've provided now for 5 years at GRIFFIN'S FRIENDS ANNUAL GALA EVENTS. We couldn't be more proud of WILLIAM'S TREASURE TREES, the wirewrapped gem trees that we make in Wm's memory for the group's runners and team captains on treatment (using FIRE MOUNTAIN wire, charms, and birthstones). MR. HUGH CARROLL, a rockhound and wirewrapper from Fort Dodge, Iowa, does the majority of the wirewrapping on sodalite for us. WILLIAM'S TREASURE TREES are the unofficial "mascot" of GRIFFIN'S FRIENDS and appears on their running shirts.

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