‘Syd Strong’

Last year, a 13-year-old Falconer Central School student helped with a service project at the Ronald McDonald house, in addition to many other acts of volunteerism. Now, a benefit will be held to provide the community a chance to give back.

The benefit, which will be held for Sydney “Syd” Kresconko, of Kennedy, is scheduled for Saturday from 1-7 p.m. at the Frewsburg Fire Department in the blue building.

The event, which will be hosted by Falconer Future Business Leaders of America, of which Syd is the treasurer, will feature a chicken or beef chili bread bowl dinner, a Chinese auction, basket drawings, face painting, a photo booth, and live entertainment by the Junior Guilders, Headbanger’s Ball, Disturbing the Peace and more. A donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and under will be accepted at the door.

Michelle Johnson, a teacher at Falconer Central School and adviser for FBLA, decided to throw this benefit after seeing Syd help with a service project last year at the Ronald McDonald House even though she had just undergone two surgeries to remove tumors.

According to Keith Kresconko, Syd’s father, who is a teacher at Falconer Central School, the money raised during the event will be helpful, but really he just hopes that friends and family will come to the benefit to have fun and support Syd.

“It’s going to be so much fun to see everybody and to see how many people want to come out and support Syd,” said Keith. “Falconer has been great to me, and all of us actually. You don’t realize how much support is out there until you’re going through this, and how much we want to give back once this is over.”

Syd’s mother, Leslie, who is a teacher’s aide in the special education department of Fenner Elementary School in Falconer, said that Syd is currently undergoing chemotherapy at Buffalo Children’s Hospital to help combat B-Cell lymphoblasic lymphoma. So, she had to take time off from school, chorus, playing the flute, gymnastics and FBLA.

“It started in February, being a gymnast she had some muscle pain so we took her to a neurologist who did an MRI and found that she had an 8-inch tumor on her spine that was branching out into her chest,” said Leslie. “She went into surgery four days later, and they removed most of the tumor. However, she had to go back two weeks later to get the rest of the tumor out from her chest. All the tests at the time showed that the tumor was benign and that there were no indications of it being malignant. We went for followup MRIs every three months and everything was great until November when they found a baseball-sized tumor in her kidney. They did a biopsy the next day to find it was lymphoma.”

So, Syd started chemotherapy and is currently in stage two of five. This stage requires a trip to Buffalo every other week, but she also receives treatment at home from The Visiting Nurses Association.

“The doctors say that in a couple months she should be fine and this should all be behind us,” said Leslie. “So, we’re keeping positive attitudes to help her get better.”

“By next school year she should be back in school with a full set of hair and back to gymnastics,” added Keith.

In an act of solidarity, Leslie’s mother and Keith’s sister will shave their heads at the benefit. They are being sponsored to do so as a fundraiser. Anyone who wishes to join in the act is welcome.

Chris Schrader, a teacher at Falconer Central School, designed T-shirts at the Jock Shop that read “Syd Strong” on the front with a checklist on that back that reads “Cancer Checklist: Fight, Faith, Hope, Win.” So far more than 520 shirts have been sold at $10 per shirt as another means of fundraising. A limited number of shirts should be available at the benefit.

“It will be fun seeing everybody and to see my friends and family there to support me,” said Syd. “You just got to stay strong.”

For more information search for “Benefit for Sydney Kresconko” on Facebook.