Strength for Life's Newest and Youngest Fundraiser, Emma Thode

Emma Thode, 8 years old and her philanthropic ways, raises $$ for local charity, Strength for Life.

"One person can make a difference and  every person should try." ~John F. Kennedy

Strength for Life was contacted in October by the father of Emma Thode, of St. James, that Emma decided to fundraise for Strength for Life.  Here's her story.

"Third grade student Emma Thode, 8, of Mills Pond Elementary in Smithtown was diagnosed at age 4 with gluten sensitivity. She went through a very exhaustive diagnostic process to determine that she has difficulty digesting any food that is made with gluten.

Emma has been gluten free for years now and “does great with it overall,” according to her dad Jeremy. “Her behavior and her health are now excellent, and she has accepted the fact that she can’t eat many foods. She is reliable about avoiding gluten, even though her mom and I know at times it makes her feel different from her classmates and her three sisters. Emma has always been extremely sensitive, which has turned out to be a good thing in most ways.”

This past March Emma’s grandfather passed away from complications related to diabetes, and Emma took it very hard. According to her father, Emma still talks about him, and even cries unexpectedly sometimes because she misses her "Pa." She also has become very spiritual due to this loss, will ask to go to church (as opposed to having to drag our other children), and just developed has a philanthropist type personality.

Recently Emma decided she wanted to do something positive to help people with cancer. With her mom’s help, Emma created a collection bin to raise money for cancer research. Her first step was to contribute her own money from her piggy bank into the bin. She also coerced her younger sisters to do the same. That wasn’t enough for Emma, and she saw a golden opportunity to raise more money with her dad’s help. Emma’s dad is the Director of Health, Physical Education, Fine & Applied Art, Business and Athletics for the Center Moriches School District, and she accompanied him to several of Center Moriches School’s athletic events, where she determinedly stood at the concession stand for the Center Moriches Booster Club asking for donations. To date she has collected almost $300.

Emma is an active young lady, and now loves swimming and running. To further draw attention to cancer prevention and research, she is now training  to run 5k road races. She will be running Evelyn Knapp's 5k Run To Remember on November 18, 2012 to assist cancer survivors and is excited and committed about this opportunity. (***Updated total raised $500, Emma's updated distance 3.0 miles non stop)

If you would like  to sponsor Emma, please make your check out to Strength for Life And send it to Emma’s dad, c/o Jeremy Thode, Center Moriches School District 311 Frowein Road Center Moriches NY 11934 Newsday shared this story - yesterday "Way to Go: Emma Thode, St. James!"

Strength for Life is honored to have the support of Emma Thode. This is such a heartwarming story for us - that Emma would select 'Strength for Life." Strength for Life provides FREE exercise classes and wellness retreats for cancer patients/survivors on Long Island, for every $250 donated a cancer survivor is sponsored to our wellness retreat consisting of an overnight stay, a day of exercise classes including Zumba, Strength Training, Yoga, Tai Chi or QiGong, Reiki, and incredible guest speakers of Naturopathic Medicine and Feng Shui for Healing.  You go Emma! You, alone, have invited two survivors to participate and learn techniques to feel their 'absolute best'.

Due to the devastation of "Sandy," Strength for Life decided to share our proceeds with the families who lost so much and to have a collection of food and cleaning items on race day.

In addition, 'Sandy' obliterated the Sunken Meadow dam and there had to be a course change - the November 18th run will be 3.0 miles.  Strength for Life deliberated over the new course, the gas situation and the loss of so many of our friends and neighbors, decided to go forward  ...and hope we can make a difference.

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