Fairy Princess Ball raises money for local children’s cancer centerKerri Chilcote of Duluth knows what it’s like to have a child with cancer. She also knows what it’s like to see the costs of treatment add up. After seeing her eight-month-old daughter Gwen go through chemotherapy nearly five years ago, Chilcote promised herself that once her child was better, she would help families facing similar challenges.
Kerri Chilcote of Duluth knows what it’s like to have a child with cancer. She also knows what it’s like to see the costs of treatment add up. After seeing her eight-month-old daughter Gwen go through chemotherapy nearly five years ago, Chilcote promised herself that once her child was better, she would help families facing similar challenges.
“We met many families in waiting rooms, and we shared a lot of stories and heard about a lot of hardships, especially financial hardships,” Chilcote said. “So, we said that when things settle down, we want to find a way to give back.”
Now, Chilcote and her daughter, who has been cancer-free for four years, attend the Fairy Princess Ball fundraiser that Chilcote co-founded. The third annual ball is set for Sunday, Feb. 26 at Greysolon Ballroom from 2 to 5 p.m., with all proceeds from the event being donated to the Erick Peter Person Children’s Cancer Center in Duluth.
The center, run through the Essentia Health Foundation in Duluth, provides financial assistance to families with children who have cancer. The funds assist families with the costs of lodging, meals, and travel expenses while their children undergo treatment.
“There are so many families that can’t absorb the costs for a child that has cancer,” Chilcote said. “There are so many things that come with it, and it does cause a hardship on the family. This local fund helps offset those costs.”
Chilcote said the Fairy Princess Ball has raised $22,000 for the fund during the three years it has taken place. The event is funded solely by donations from local businesses, and the premier sponsor this year is Feazel Management Services, which owns three McDonald’s restaurants throughout the Northland.
The idea to host a Fairy Princess Ball came about when Chilcote was talking to a couple of her close friends about how she could help families of children with cancer. Her friend Jen Bertsch already had a plan in mind.
An entrepreneur coach who owns the local business Moxy Coaching, Bertsch was helping her daughter Stella complete a dream board that illustrated her hopes for the future. Her daughter said one of her dreams was to go to a fairy princess ball. From there, the fundraiser pieced itself together, with the first Fairy Princess Ball taking place in 2010.
“(We) went to lunch one day and talked about organizations to fund us,” Bertsch said. “We started coordinating, and it was really exciting. A lot of our friends stepped up to help. We’re a close-knit group.”
Now in its third year as a fundraiser, the upcoming Fairy Princess Ball will feature a “secret garden” theme. The $110 all-inclusive ticket allows one adult to bring one child to spend an afternoon dressed as a princess and enjoy a variety of activities, including craft stations. The Greysolon Ballroom will be catering a light lunch, and a grand princess march will take place at the start of the event.
Sounds Unlimited, of Superior, Wis., will be providing music during the event, and professional photography by Chelsea Morgan of Magic Box Photography will be available for those attending. The Minnesota Ballet will also be returning for their second year to perform at the event.
“We really just want to teach them that fun and philanthropy go hand-in-hand,” Bertsch said. “There’s a lot of ways people raise funds for organizations, and we just really wanted to do something fun and different. It’s a time to unleash your inner princess, let loose, and have some fun.”
Committee member Pascha Apter said the price of the event often surprises many parents but that all the funds go to a good cause.
“It is expensive, but cancer is really expensive,” she said. “When you have a child who has cancer, the costs are absolutely enormous. The point is to raise money for families going through a health crisis.”
“I think the admission ticket does give one a pause, but it’s all-inclusive,” added Rita Rosenberger, who took her daughter Agnes to the event last year. “I think there’s plenty of times I’ve taken the kids to the movie theater and spent $50. The Fairy Princess Ball is memorable and truly something special for a good cause.”
And aside from all the dresses and sparkling crowns, organizers of the event hope to teach young girls a valuable lesson.
“The underlying current is what it really means to be a princess,” Bertsch said. “It’s not what we learned about in fairy tales. We’re real human beings, and it’s about how to find your confidence as a woman.”
In addition to Chilcote, Bertsch and Apter, the Fairy Princess Ball committee includes Rachel Johnson, Jill Niksich, Heather Anderson, Charity Smith and Crystal Anderson.
Attendees are encouraged to pre-register for the event, by visiting www.fairyprincessball.com.
What: Third annual Fairy Princess Ball
Where: Greysolon Ballroom
When: Sunday, Feb. 26 from 2 to 5 p.m.
Why: To raise funds for the Erick Peter Person Children’s Cancer Center in Duluth