Ainsley Kargela is the reason why Marquette County Mom Prom first began. Her fierce tenacity in her battle with cancer inspired us to give back the community she so loved. Sadly, she passed away on July 22, 2018. We thought it fitting for the proceeds of the 2019 Mom Prom to go to the non-profit established in her name, Ainsley's HALO. This non-profit has been established to continue her legacy and to continue making a difference.
H.A.L.O- HELP AND LOVE OTHERS.
Ainsley’s HALO provides a local hockey scholarship and a local dance scholarship each year. It works to provide donations of hats, band-aids, toys and poke prizes for the Children's Hospital of Michigan. It also works to provide continual support for pediatric cancer research.
The 2019 Marquette County Mom Prom raised over $30,000 for Ainsley's HALO!
William Chittle, is in many ways a typical 8 year old boy who loves messing with his little brother, hates waking up early for school and takes legos and video games very seriously. But since he was just an infant, William has been challenged with issues well beyond his years. He has undergone over 18 surgeries (the first at just 4 weeks old during which he “coded” twice), has been treated at 5 different hospitals and has had to live with a feeding tube and a cecestomy tube. Will has three different, unrelated conditions. He has Eosinophilic Esophagitis, an autoimmune disease where the body sends white blood cells to attack the esophagus whenever certain food enters. He also suffers from autonomic dysfunction, which results in Will not being able to control his body temperature (95% of his body doesn't sweat, and he has sudden blood pressure drops) and lastly, we know he has a progressive neuro-muscular disease (which falls under the broad muscular dystrophy “umbrella”). This last condition, frustratingly enough, has yet to be properly diagnosed despite genetic testing.
Despite it all, Will is a warrior. He is exceedingly compassionate, smart and determined. He doesn't give up on anything. Whenever anyone else around him gets hurt or is sick, he is the first to bring them a blanket, get them water or give them a loving hug. His life experiences have given him a wisdom beyond his years. According to his mother Janice, “He knows the ins and outs of insurance, he knows why we can't afford to take him to the specialist that could finally diagnose him, he understands how much more fortunate he is than some other kids. He wants to be a scientist one day so he can make life easier for kids who are born with disabilities.”
The 2018 Marquette County Mom Prom raised $20,000 for the Chittle family!
Kevin and Jessica Ellis reside in Ishpeming, MI where they spend their time raising four beautiful children all under the age of 10. Kevin, age 32, is a veteran of the U.S. Army and was previously deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. After experiencing serious neurological issues and numerous trips to the doctor, he was diagnosed with pulmonary, neuro and cardiac sarcoidosis, which is an inflammatory disease affecting the heart and nervous system. The disease is said to mimic the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis and the consequences have been nothing but debilitating to Kevin and his family. Most recently, an MRI exposed a mass on his lung which tragically, may indicate Lymphoma in Kevin’s system. Treatment requires the family to travel to a specialty hospital in Cleveland each month and both parents have since been forced to resign from their jobs.
The 2017 Marquette County Mom Prom raised $25,000 for the Ellis family!
The second annual Marquette County Mom Prom was held on Friday, April 15, 2016. Keeping with the theme of “paying it forward”, Ainsley, Patty and their family helped with the selection process of the recipient of the 2016 Marquette County Mom Prom which was Northwoods AirLifeline (NWALL). With the help of the community, we were able to raise $20,000 for NWALL!
NWALL is a non-profit organization of volunteer pilots from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northeast Wisconsin who donate their time and aircraft to help patients and their families with urgent medical needs. NWALL flew the Kargela family to and from nearly all of Ainsley’s weekly chemo treatments in Detroit in 2014/2015. Click here for more information on the organization.
The inaugural Marquette County Mom Prom was held on Friday, April 17, 2015 from 7-11 p.m at the historic Masonic Temple in downtown Marquette. This event was open to women age 21 and over (moms and non-moms) for a magical night of fundraising to benefit a local family in need. With the help of the community, we raised $20,000!
It is our hope to make this an annual event to show how a community can benefit from a group of women coming together to help one another. Each year, a different individual, family, or non-profit organization will be selected (with the help of the previous years' recipient) to receive the proceeds from our event. It is our hope that Mom Prom will continue to "Pay It Forward" for years to come.
The 2015 recipient was Ainsley Kargela, a 4 year old Marquette resident battling a rare form of childhood cancer for the second time in two years. Her mother, Patty, is also currently fighting her second round of cancer. 100% of the proceeds from this event went to Ainsley, Patty and their family to assist with all the medical and travel expenses that come with cancer care. For more information on Ainsley, click here.
The event featured dancing, cocktails, delicious food, a silent auction and a chance to win amazing prizes provided by local vendors. Guests were encouraged to wear their old prom gowns, bridesmaid dresses, wedding gowns and/or anything that makes a girl feel fabulous.