NASSAU–May 3 of this year, New Lebanon Jr./Sr. High School junior Kristine Greco was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Two days later, the plum-sized tumor was removed, but found to be medulla blastoma, a brain cancer. On the web page www.caringbridge.org/visit/kristineg she created to keep her friends apprised of her treatment, Kristine spelled out her reaction: “Let the fight begin.”
Kristine is still fighting: She travels three or four days a week to Albany Medical Center, says her mother, Linda Burkart. “She gets fluids and blood transfusions and tests and sees the oncologist.” Once a month she is admitted to the hospital for chemotherapy. Her parents–her father, Augie, lives in New Lebanon–spell each other keeping Kristine company while she’s an in-patient.
Mrs. Burkhardt was laid off in February from her job as a paralegal. And while Kristine’s medical costs are covered by the state’s insurance plan for children, the other expenses of treating Kristine are being addressed by her friends, “Team Kristine.”
Team founder Sara Magin, 16, put out jars in businesses in both Nassau and New Lebanon, with a note explaining Kristine’s situation. Kelly Magin, Sara’s mother, said that Sara really just wanted to help Kristine, to help provide whatever Kristine and her family need.
“What do you do when your classmate has brain cancer?” said Ms. Magin.
The generosity of the public “has been amazing,” she said, with more than $3,000 collected so far. Other people and organizations have contributed as well, Mrs. Magin said, but she doesn’t find it surprising. “There aren’t enough adjectives to describe this kid. She lights up a room when she walks in.”
Kristine’s long-time riding instructor, Barbara Fausner, is holding a benefit horse show this Saturday, October 10, at her Country Gentlemen Farm on Route 20 in Nassau. Kristine started riding lessons at her barn when she was about six, Mrs. Fausner said. Learning that Kristine has brain cancer was “a heartbreaker,” she said. “I watched her grow up here.”
The show begins at 8:30 a.m. Refreshments will be available for purchase, also to benefit Kristine.
Geneva Furlano, another of Kristine’s classmates, has designed a t-shirt that will be the next fundraiser. According to Mrs. Magin the shirt will be gray–the color representing brain cancer–with a ribbon insignia spelling out “Support her, inspire her, cure her. Team Kristine.” The shirts will be available, at $10 each, by advance order only to .
Contributions to help Kristine’s fight can also be sent to: Kristine Greco’s Journey, #39035; c/o SEFCU; P. O. Box 12189; Albany, NY 12212.