Nov
26th

Surprises for Hunter! | Team Summer

Hunter's Gift-3

Twelve-year-old Hunter has been having a very hard time. Ever since he was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year, his world has been turned upside down. It seems like he’s spent more time in the hospital than out, alternating between nausea and boredom. There was not much Team Summer could do about Hunter’s nausea, but former cancer patient and Team Summer kid Lacey had lots of ideas on how to help with his boredom!

Hunter's Gift-16

Having battled cancer herself, Lacey knows what it’s like to spend countless hours in a hospital bed with nothing to do. Thanks to your generous donations, she was able to give Hunter something he had always wanted – a pair of red Beats headphones. And believe us, Hunter knows just how to tune out the world with Beats over his ears!

Hunter's Gift-23

Then we added in a couple of new video games and, well, the boredom problem got better!

Hunter's-Gift-Charles-2-2

But there was something else we heard about that Hunter had always wanted. Hunter is a HUGE Falcons fan and particularly a HUGE fan of Falcon’s wide receiver Julio Jones. Using some of Team Summer’s connections, we were able to present Hunter with his very own Julio Jones jersey – autographed by the man himself! Thank you Julio and Terrin McKay for making this happen!

Hunter's Gift-Charles-1

Hunter will be the first to tell you that having cancer as a kid is really, really tough. But at least on this day he had someone  to talk to who really gets it. Someone who could show him her scars. Someone to give him hope that he, too, will get through this ordeal.

Hunter's Gift-25Hunter's Gift-29

Posted in November 2014 | Leave a comment


 
Oct
29th

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship! | Team Summer

Four-year-old Julia and three-year-old Addison have a lot in common. Both are battling cancer. Both have endured many trips to the hospital and struggled with difficult treatments like chemotherapy.

Now they have something else in common. Something a lot more fun. They are Team Summer friends!

Julia's-Gift-6

They met in a play area in the hospital and then saw each other again at the cancer clinic. Addison had already gotten a Team Summer gift. Now it was her turn to give a gift, so she chose Julia!

If you watch Addison’s face closely (she’s wearing the pink shirt), you’ll see that giving is even better than getting!

Team Summer

Thanks to donations from wonderful people like you, Addison was able to give Julia a LeapPad 3 — a fun, learning computer for kids her age. Julia’s mother told us that Julia loves it! “She won’t let go of it! She sleeps with it!”

Julia's-Gift-9

Certainly, the gift will distract Julia from what she has to endure – twenty spinal taps so far, for example – but more importantly, she has a positive connection to the hospital now. A new friend — one who really understands. Her mom says that when Julia walks through the doors of the hospital, she says, “Remember my Team Summer friend?” And when you have 14 more months of treatment left to go, a friend is a great thing to have.

Anyone can nominate a child with cancer to become a Team Summer kid! Just go to our website and click Nominate!

Julia's-Gift-12

Posted in October 2014 | Leave a comment


 
Sep
5th

Team Summer Superstar Kid!! | Team Summer

Team Summer is pleased to announce that 13-year-old Kayla has become our very first Team Summer Superstar Kid!!

Kayla-3 - Party

Kayla was diagnosed with a brain tumor back in January 2013. She came to us through 16-year-old Haley (thank you, Haley!), who was battling cancer herself. Haley selected Kayla for a Team Summer gift and gave her fancy bling tack for her horse!

Kayla's Gift-25

 And then Kayla’s heart took over in a big way!

Despite everything she was going through – surgeries, hospital stays and endless rounds of chemo – Kayla stayed positive and paid it forward, giving back to other kids with cancer. In all, FOUR – count them FOUR! – Team Summer gifts!

First, Kayla’s heart went out to 3-year-old Elizabeth, who was battling lymphoma. Kayla worried about how someone so young could get through everything she herself was dealing with. She found out that Elizabeth loved to borrow the hospital’s iPad, so with Team Summer’s help, she got Elizabeth one of her own to help her pass the time!

Eli's Gift-11

Next she found 14-year-old Sydney. Tall and beautiful, Sydney was struggling with a recurrence of Ewing’s sarcoma which showed up as a tumor on her spine. Kayla found out that Sydney wanted to be a model when she grew up. So Kayla gave her something she always wanted – a fashion photo shoot, complete with a professional makeup artist and photographer. Thanks to Kayla, cancer was not on Sydney’s mind the day these pictures were taken.

Sydney's-Gift-3-1

Sydney's-Gift-17

Next, Kayla met 3-year-old Kaylee, who had been diagnosed with leukemia. They met at the hospital and became fast friends. To keep Kaylee’s busy, busy mind occupied during chemotherapy, Kayla got her an iPod Touch so she could listen to her favorite songs.

Kaylee's Gift-8-2

And Kayla did not stop there. She made friends with 8th-grader Maddie who had recently been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. Kayla gave Maddie the evening of her life, complete with a makeup artist, dinner with all her friends, and a limo ride to the 8th grade dance!

Maddie's Gift-11

Maddie's Gift-140

No doubt, Kayla got as much as she gave. Her mother told us that for so many weeks, the only time Kayla smiled was when she was giving a Team Summer gift. At such a young age, Kayla learned what some of us never do – that the best way to help yourself is to help someone else. That idea is the very foundation of Team Summer, and Kayla exemplifies the best of who we are.

Kayla-1 Party

SOOOOO….Kayla has been named our very first Team Summer Superstar kid and was recently awarded a necklace made especially for her. All of us at Team Summer are floored by Kayla’s sweet heart.

Kayla-6 - Party

Here’s what it looks like on the back!

Kayla-9 Party

We want to give a big thanks to Nicole Streblow of Edge of Marsh Creations for helping us create Kayla’s necklace. And we are so grateful to her for donating half the cost back to Team Summer! Thank you, Nicole! Beautiful job!

Who will be the next Team Summer Superstar Kid? It all starts with the nomination of a Georgia kid who has been diagnosed with cancer. Anyone can nominate! Family, friends, even the kids themselves! Click here!

 

 

Posted in September 2014 | Leave a comment


 
Aug
4th

Michael Johns

Team Summer has lost a dear friend.  Michael Johns, an American Idol runner-up in 2008, died suddenly this past Friday from an apparent  blood clot. He was 35 years old.

Michael Johns and Summer with TS band

Michael was very special to Summer Dale, the founder of Team Summer. When a family friend arranged for Summer to fly to Los Angeles to watch an American Idol show live in 2012, Michael Johns came to our hotel room ahead of time and put on a special concert just for Summer! I can still remember his gentle, shy smile; and, of course, Summer was completely enchanted! Here’s the video I took that day – Heart on My Sleeve.

Michael Johns and Summer w guitar
That night, Michael met us at the American Idol show and introduced  Summer around to everyone. He could not have been sweeter or more generous with his time. Later that year, after Summer died, Michael flew to Atlanta and graced us all with his beautiful voice at Summer’s memorial service at Opera in Midtown. None of us who were there will ever forget his touching, emotional performance.
Michael Johns - Celebration of Life
Our hearts break for his family, and mine breaks particularly for his mother. May she find peace in the knowledge that her son touched Summer’s life in such a special way.  Many will remember Michael for his incredible talent, but we will remember him most for his kindness to Summer at such a difficult time in her life.
                                                                                                                       Lynne Dale
                                                                                                                    Summer’s mom
Posted in August 2014 | Leave a comment


 
Jun
11th

Wheels for Addison! | Team Summer

The intent of a Team Summer gift is to make a child’s cancer journey a little easier by distracting or entertaining the child. Sometimes that means a cool electronic device. Sometimes it’s a ride in a limo. Or a fashion photo shoot. But for three-year-old Addison, who is battling a brain tumor, it simply meant a safe ride to the hospital.

Addison's Gift-21

Addison’s mom, Samantha, will tell you she knows one saying is true: “When it rains, it pours.”  Within the course of a year, her husband, Adam, got very ill and lost his job, which meant they lost their home; and their beloved Addison was diagnosed with a brain cancer.

Addison's-Gift

And just when it seemed things couldn’t get worse, their car broke down, and they had no way to get Addison to her weekly chemo treatments in Atlanta, more than an hour away.

Addison's Gift-10

The family had no choice but to ride the Medicaid bus. They say the problem was that it wasn’t a bus, it was a car. And the driver refused to run the air-conditioning, driving with the windows all the way down on the highway. Additionally, he played loud rap music and texted while he drove, causing the vehicle to swerve. All of these conditions served to increase the suffering of a sick child already nauseated from chemo.

Enter four-year old Elizabeth!

Addison's Gift-18

You might remember her from about a year ago. Recently diagnosed with leukemia, she got a Team Summer gift – her very own iPad – from our Bling Girl, Kayla.

Eli's Gift-11

Elizabeth’s mom said that they had not forgotten to keep on the lookout for a kid they could help, and recently called us to say Elizabeth was ready to give a gift! She had made friends with three-year-old Addison.

Addison's Gift-31

Working with the girls’ moms, Team Summer decided the best way to make Addison’s cancer journey easier was to do it literally…by fixing the family car!  We learned that Mike Ford’s Auto Shop in Rome, GA had a solid reputation for honesty and quality work. So we had the car towed to his shop to see what he could do.

Addison's Gift-13

After a thorough examination of the car, Mike Ford told us that, although it was a good vehicle, it needed numerous repairs to make it safe to drive. We agreed on a price, and he set to work. Within a week, he and his crew had the car up and running again!

Addison's Gift-11

When we told Addison’s mom that the car was ready, she sent us this text:

“I told Addison this morning we were getting our car back and she started jumping up and down and said, ‘I not have to ride wit da mean man anymore?’ I said, ‘No baby.’ And she said, ‘You can take me to the park?’ and I told her, ‘ Yes,’ and she started jumping up and down again saying ‘yahhhhh!!!’ :)”

Addison's Gift - Triptch-2

But our story does not end there. When we tried to pay Mike Ford, he told us that he and his wife had decided not to charge Team Summer. They wanted the money to be used to buy more gifts for kids with cancer. We tried to argue, but there was no changing his mind. All of us at Team Summer are truly touched by their generous hearts. Addison’s mom, Samantha, was in tears when she heard what they had done.

Addison's Gift-29

And a special thanks, too, to the man who fixed the car’s broken dash, Hamp at Hamp’s Speedometer Service. He also insisted on donating his work!

Lastly, we could not resist one more gift. We learned that Addison used to have an iPad that she loved very much. She always took it to the hospital to play with when she went in for chemo. One day she dropped it and it broke, breaking her little heart along with it.

So using funds donated by wonderful people like you, with all of Mike’s crew looking on…

Addison's Gift-9

…Elizabeth gave her a new one, this time with a super strong survivor case designed to withstand drops of up to six feet!

Addison's Gift-4

Addison's Gift-6

Addison's Gift - Survivor Case

Perhaps the best part of this story is the friendship that has formed between the two little girls, bonded by experiences no one this young should have to endure. Yet, when they see each other in the hospital next time, they will know they are with a friend, and it will be a less scary place. Heck, they might even have fun…the way the little girls are supposed to! Click here to watch them in action!

Addison's Gift

*********************************************************************************************************************

Anyone can nominate a child to become a Team Summer Kid! Simply go to our website and click on Nominate!

Posted in June 2014 | Leave a comment


 
Jun
11th

Maddie Goes to the Dance in Style! | Team Summer

Maddie Before Cancer

Up until last November, Maddie was a happy-go-lucky eighth grader. Her biggest problem was figuring out how to get her naturally-curly hair to stay straight! But then right after Thanksgiving, she developed a pain on the side of her left calf that just got worse with each passing day.

It did not take doctors long to discover the source – a tumor in her fibula. The diagnosis was devastating: Ewing’s sarcoma. Cancer. Suddenly, Maddie’s world flipped on its head. Within days, she found herself immersed in an unfamiliar medical world surrounded by adults, and undergoing multiple rounds of chemo and painful surgeries. Life as she had known it was on hold indefinitely. A positive person by nature, she still couldn’t help but long for her old life back. Mostly, she missed just being carefree and hanging out with her friends.

Maddie's Gift-16

And Maddie has some great ones. Three in particular. They have all been traveling in a pack for about as long as they can remember. They are so close that they think of themselves as one unit, nicknamed EMOR, for their first names – Emily, Maddie, Olivia and Regan. (Shown above as RMOE – Regan, Maddie, Olivia, and Emily!!)

So when our super-star Team Summer Kid, Kayla (we call her our Bling Girl! ), chose Maddie for a Team Summer gift…

Maddie's Gift-11

…it did not take Maddie’s mom long to help us figure out what would make Maddie the happiest – an evening to remember with all her friends! And as luck would have it, THE social event of the season was coming up – the eighth-grade dance!

So Team Summer went to work!

First, we hired professional makeup artist, Joahnna!

Maddie's Gift-53

The four best friends – EMOR –  gathered at Maddie’s house to do what eighth grade girls do best – get dressed up!  As you might imagine, there was a lot of laughter and giggling!

Maddie's Gift-14

Maddie's Gift-79

Maddie's Gift-60Check out the finished product! Joahnna, you are the best! Of course, she had some great kids to work with!

Maddie's Gift-101

Then the girls met up with six more of their friends, and we sent them on their very first limo ride! Before long, they figured out the music controls and it was a party!

Maddie's Gift-117

Maddie's Gift-140

Maddie's Gift-146

Next, Team Summer treated them to a fun dinner for ten at the Olive Garden!

Maddie's Gift-153

Then back in the limo, headed for their final destination – the dance! Not anxious to say good-bye to their limo, they had the driver take them the long way!

Maddie's Gift-137

Maddie's Gift-152

When Maddie got to the dance, guess who was waiting for her! Kayla! She had JUST gotten out of the hospital, having finished her very last round of chemo!!

Maddie & Kayla

Then it was party all night!!

Maddie's Gift - Dance

Because of all of you who have donated to Team Summer, Maddie had the time of her life, better than she could have imagined! And she certainly did not feel like a cancer patient that night…just a normal teenage girl hanging out with her friends!

If you know a Georgia kid with cancer, you can nominate that child to become a Team Summer Kid and get a special gift! Simply go on our website and click on Nominate!

Posted in June 2014 | Leave a comment


 
May
15th

Riverwood Art Auction is a BIG Success! | Team Summer

Riverwood Art 2014 - 2The Riverwood International Charter School Art Auction went off without a hitch! Students from all grades submitted art work for family, friends, and fans to bid on. Together, art lovers purchased $1143 worth of creativity, all to benefit Team Summer!Riverwood Art 2014 - 1

Many thanks to the coordinators of this event, Riverwood teachers Dana Munson and Elizabeth Karp. We know how much effort it takes to pull something like this off, and it means so much to the kids with cancer you are helping!

Riverwood Art Auction - Jonah 4-2One more thing we want to tell you about! Jonah Blumenthal , a senior at Riverwood, won first prize at the auction for his submission, a photograph he took on a hiking trip (see below!). The prize came with a cash award of $30. Instead of claiming the money, Jonah asked Ms. Munson to donate his winnings to Team Summer! How cool is that? Jonah, we love your heart! What a great kid!Riverwood Art Auction - Jonah Photo Redo

 

Posted in May 2014 | Leave a comment


 
Apr
8th

Second Annual Art Auction Fundraiser at Riverwood!

Riverwood HS Event-7

Mark your calendars – Thursday April 17th from 5:30p-7:00p! It is time once again for the second annual Art Auction Fundraiser for Team Summer at Riverwood High School in Sandy Springs!!

The Riverwood National Honor Society is hosting an art show and silent auction (followed by  Riverwood’s Showcase for Visual and Performing Arts at 7:00p). All the proceeds from the silent auction will be donated to Team Summer! How cool is that?

You really need to see what these high school kids have created! Such talent! And in all art forms, including paintings, drawings, multi-media, and photography.

Riverwood was a special place for Summer – a school she loved. She would have been graduating this year, along side her twin brother, Jordan. It is so touching and special that the school is remembering Summer and Team Summer in this way.

One of Summer’s favorite classes at Riverwood was photography, and her teacher, Dana Munson, is one of the people heading up this fundraiser, along with the fabulous Elizabeth Karp. Many thanks in advance to them for all their hard work. We are enormously grateful for their support!

Riverwood’s address is 5900 Raider Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30328. Please join us! All are welcome! It’s going to be a fun evening!

 

Posted in April 2014 | Tagged Leave a comment


 
Mar
26th

Jack Gets the Driver’s Seat! | Team Summer

Jack's-Gift-15After years of being told what to, where to go, what treatments he had to endure, Jack is finally in the driver’s seat!

We met 7-year old Jack after a teacher at his school nominated him through the Team Summer website! Jack battled leukemia for three years – as long as he can remember, if you think about it. Finally, thanks to your donations to Team Summer, Jack got something he always wanted, an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle)!

When you spend so much time in the hospital, making friends is not easy. The one good friend Jack did have was a neighbor down the street. Problem was that the neighbor had an ATV, but Jack did not. Hard to play together. And when your parents are busy trying to pay hospital bills, an ATV is not high on the list.Jack's-Gift-02

Antonio (right), who battled leukemia himself and is a previous Team Summer gift recipient (Summer herself gave him his cherished laptop), welcomed Jack to the Team Summer family.

Remember, Team Summer gifts are always a surprise and Antonio took the duty of surprising Jack very seriously! After reading him the Team Summer letter, Antonio very carefully walked him down to where his gift was waiting and then VOILA! The big unveiling and the handing over of the keys! Jack's Gift - TriPic

Jack is now the proud owner of his very own shiny blue ATV – with all the appropriate kid safety features, of course! Jack’s mom told us that after we left, Jack just keep on riding around the yard. It got dark, but that did not slow him down. He just flipped on his headlights and kept on riding. Many thanks to all of you who helped make this joyous day possible.

And a super big thanks to photographer Alison Church, who volunteered her time and captured this day so beautifully!

We understand that Jack already has a kid with cancer in mind to whom he wants to give a gift – paying it forward in the best spirit of Team Summer!

Jack's-Gift-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in March 2014 | Leave a comment


 
Feb
9th

Hannah Cate Gets a Swingset! | Team Summer

Team SummerAs the fifth of  six children in her family, 11-year-old Hannah Cate has always been surrounded by a lot of love and support. But her life has not been easy. Not by a long shot.

Born with Downs Syndrome, she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia when she was just six years old. After endless rounds of chemo and procedures, she went into remission. But last year, the cancer came back, and her family was once again tossed into what they call the “rodeo.”

A look at Hannah Cate’s Caring Bridge – a special website where her mom updates family and friends about Hannah Cate’s condition – tells the story. A stunning 231 entries dating all the back to 2007, chronicling every treatment, setback, and fear. This little girl has been through a lot.

Team SummerWe heard about Hannah Cate when Molly Swan of Albany, GA used our website to nominate her to be a Team Summer Kid. Thank you, Molly!

Team SummerRight away, 20-year-old Tyler Hayes, who has fought his own battle with cancer, wanted to be the one to give Hannah Cate a gift.

Her mom told us that Hannah Cate had always wanted her very own swing set.  So we called Home Depot in Albany, GA, and their response blew up away! When they heard what we were doing, employees Flo Reneau and James King immediately started organizing employees to volunteer to build the set for us! Braving 15 degree temperatures, they came with space heaters and joyous attitudes, and spent 6 hours assembling the set! Home Depot also donated the wood chips and the sandbox.

Team Summer - Home Depot

Finally it was time for the unveiling! Tyler read Hannah Cate the Team Summer welcome letter, and then everyone trooped down to the backyard. All of the Home Depot employees came back to watch, along with a local TV station! Hannah Cate was thrilled, insisting that her new friend, Tyler, give her the first push!

One really sweet moment was when Hannah Cate asked Tyler if she could see the scar on his collar bone where his port once was. There is a lot that Hannah Cate does not understand about her cancer, but she knows that people who wear that scar share a special bond with her.

Thanks to all of you who donated to Team Summer and made this day possible! You made a little girl very happy. And a special thanks to Kim Russell at K & R Photography for taking these wonderful pictures!

Team Summer
Do you know a kid in Georgia with cancer who could use some cheering up?  We would love to hear about him or her.  Go to our NOMINATE page to learn more.

Posted in February 2014 | Leave a comment