Prom supports cancer research
by Staff Writer
by Brett Freeman
CORNELIUS – More than 300 decked-out women walked the pink carpet as they arrived at the Queen City’s Mom Prom on Friday night, April 27, for the charitable event supporting research into treatments for pediatric cancer.
“We were thrilled with the turnout,” said event organizer Kellye Arning of Huntersville. “It was definitely more successful than we ever dreamed it would be. The community response was just amazing.”
The event raised more than $20,000 for Cookies For Kids’ Cancer.
Gretchen Holt Witt and her husband, Larry Witt, formed the charity while their son, Liam, battled neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that usually afflicts infants and young children. When Liam was first diagnosed at 33 months old, the Witts were alarmed to learn that a lack of effective treatments meant a 25 percent mortality rate for children diagnosed with cancer. They responded by founding Cookies For Kids’ Cancer, which has provided grants of more than $2.5 million for treatment research. They hope to raise $3 million this year.
Liam Witt lost his battle to cancer in January 2011 after a four-year struggle, but the charity he inspired lives on as a legacy to his memory. Liam’s mother and younger sister Ella made the trip from New Jersey to support the event and honor the eight Charlotte-area moms designated the Mom Prom’s Prom Queens. The queens all have children who are battling or have recently lost their battle with cancer.
Arning, who moved to Huntersville from Atlanta four years ago, said she and friend Lauren Verlander of Davidson were inspired by Mom Proms in other areas.
Verlander had ties to Cookies For Kids’ Cancer, so with an event to create and a charity to benefit, the Queen City’s Mom Prom was born.
Arning said that primary sponsor Hendrick Luxury Auto Mall at Northlake footed the bill for most of the event’s expenses, and all raffle prizes, including a $1,600 diamond pendant from Diamonds Direct, were donated.