Mindy and Shawn Hammond have supported the Echo Charitable Foundation since it started holding fundraisers more than a decade ago.
“We’ve gone to every benefit,” Mindy Hammond said.
The Hammonds never dreamed that they would be recipients of the foundation’s help, but that day came after their daughter, Jordan, was diagnosed with AML leukemia in June 2011. Jordan was 4.
The Hammonds didn’t know what they were in for, but foundation members knew it was going to be more than they could imagine.
One of the first people Shawn Hammond, a Brookfield Middle School teacher and the varsity boys’ basketball coach, called after he learned of Jordan’s diagnosis was John Litman, a long-time basketball coach who currently coaches eighth-grade boys.
“John, right away, went to the committee and started all the paperwork, just kind of worked everything out,” Hammond said.
During the Hammonds’ lengthy stays away from home, while Jordan was treated with chemotherapy and a cord blood bone marrow transplant, Echo grants helped the Hammonds pay for meals, lodging, transportation and things that they didn’t anticipate having to pay for.
The Hammonds, who both work outside the home, were uncomfortable accepting the help.
“It was hard for me, because you feel like, ‘I’ll be able to take care of it. We’ll be OK,”’
It quickly became apparent that they needed help.
“It’s a huge help for those little things, and you don’t realize how quickly it will add up,” said Hammond, a Brookfield High graduate. “They just try to take a lot of the burden off of you.”
Jordan, now 13 and with a 10-year-old brother, Blake, went through 14 months of treatments, which included one relapse. She’s in good health now, and her parents remain strong advocates for Echo, which will hold its annual fundraising dinner with dancing to the music of Chris Higbee Feb. 15 at Yankee Lake Ballroom.
The foundation was created in 2009 by Brookfield High alumni to help Brookfield High alumni, and the Hammonds are one of about 30 families who have received aid over the years.
“This fundraiser is so near and dear to our hearts,” said Mindy Hammond, who sells tickets to the event and helps educate people as to what Echo is and what it can do.
“If you are a Brookfield graduate, please come support this benefit,” she said. “It helps members of our very own community and, obviously, graduates of Brookfield and their families.”
The event brings the community together, and highlights the good people who live here, she said.
“When Jordan got sick, I had no idea the amazing people in our own community,” Mindy Hammond said. “Just outright amazing people that were just so kind to us; things like Echo, other things that people did. I just hope people show up, more show up, and for those that do come, keep coming. It means a lot to a lot of people.”
Hammond’s father, Mike, is disc jockey for the event.
“I know they are looking for more volunteers,” Mindy Hammond said. “They are looking for help. They are looking for younger graduates of Brookfield, too, so please join and help.”
An annual benefit to help Brookfield school alumni and their families returns to the Yankee Lake Ballroom on Feb. 15 with local country music artist Chris Higbee, and opening act Kevin Dale.
The annual event – now in its 12th year – raises money to help Brookfield alumni and their families who have experienced a tragic event or need a helping hand.
The event also will feature music by DJ Hammond, dinner, drinks, a Chinese auction and other raffles.
The Echo Foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization established in 2009 by Brookfield High alumni who wanted to help two classmates who were affected by serious illnesses.
The foundation, which has representatives from classes of 1966 to 2007, has helped over 30 families of Brookfield alumni in the tight-knit community.
Doors for the Echo Charitable Foundation Benefit open at 5 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m., and Higbee will perform at 9 p.m.
Tickets are available on BrownPaperTickets.com and at the following locations:
Shampooch: 2005 Pine Hollow Blvd., Hermitage.
Yankee Lake Party Center: 1800 State Route 7, Brookfield.
Laddie’s Sky Club: 8189 Warren Sharon Road, Masury.
Warehouse Sales: 200 Silver St., Sharon.
The Echo Charitable Foundation is affiliated with the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. Applications for persons wishing to be considered as a recipient of the Echo Charitable Foundation are available through the Community Foundation at 7 W. State St., Sharon.
Visit the Echo Foundation’s Facebook page for more information.