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Business owners set bake sale to benefit toddler

2.3 from 11 votes
Friday, October 09, 2009

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Old Bridge — A few philanthropic storeowners in the township are giving back to the local community.

Vendors in the Ticetown Square Mall, at Route 9 north and Route 516, will band together for an Oct. 17 charity bake sale in an effort to help contribute to the health care of Kayleigh Peterson, a 2-year-old resident of East Brunswick.

"Kayleigh is a pretty magnificent little girl," said Vogue Hair and Nail Studio owner and CEO Robert Hollenfer of the youngster. "She's been through a lot and she's very strong."

After a February doctor's visit, Peterson was found to have a swollen liver and was immediately sent to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. Weeks of tests and biopsies at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) concluded that she possessed a rare genetic disorder called tyrosinemia type 1.

Tyrosinemia affects one in 100,000 and is characterized by elevated blood levels of tyrosine, an amino acid that is a building block to most proteins. It is caused by a deficiency of certain enzymes required by the process that breaks down tyrosine. This acid builds up in tissues and organs, leading to severe medical problems.

Peterson was put on a low-protein, lowfat, low-phenylalanine diet to help manage the disease and reverse its effects on the liver; however, the regimen failed and she suffered severe liver cirrhosis. Due to this, Peterson visited CHOP weekly in order to drain 1.5 liters of fluid and reduce the swelling. She finally received a liver transplant on June 9 and was sent home 10 days after the operation.

Kayleigh's parents recently wrote on their blog at that the youngster is doing great. "She is acting, playing, running around and driving us crazy like a normal 2-year-old should be," they wrote.

"She received a miracle," Hollenfer said. "She's since recuperated, but now Kayleigh needs help in other ways."

Hollenfer said that post-care treatment for the toddler will cost approximately $50,000 more than what her family's health insurance covers. Hollenfer's salon is working with the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA) to help the family cover transplant-related expenses.

"We're just trying to contribute to postcare treatment, which can get very expensive," Hollenfer said. "But we have a good force here and we're looking to have a very good day."

In addition to Hollenfer's Vogue Hair and Nail Studio, several other store owners in Ticetown Square will be contributing to the event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Larry Ciccone of Ciccone's Deli, Joyce Hatter of Cold Stone Creamery and Joe Maritato of La Dolce Bakery will be supplying the bake sale's wide variety of food. Christine Rybak from Flower Cart Florist will be handing out roses in exchange for donations as well.

"The businesses here are fantastic. We're a very close-knit group of people," Hollenfer said. "We're going to have just about every assortment of food you can imagine."

Hollenfer said that along with a lifesized Elmo character, a giant popcorn machine and a Boar's Head hot dog stand, the delectable handouts will include cupcakes from La Dolce, sandwiches from Ciccone's, cookies and cakes from Vogue and ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery.

Kayleigh and her family is expected to be escorted to the event by Elmo in a limousine from Lime Light Limousines in Staten Island.

Hollenfer noted that owners of other stores in the mall and the township will also be supporting the bake sale.

"This isn't a hole-in-the-wall event," he said. "It's shaping up to be a big day and we hope that as many people as possible come out and support Kayleigh."

Author: By Lauren Ciraulo
Source: Suburban
2.3 from 11 votes
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