Little ambassadors give three times the reason to donate

The Wright triplets, from left, are Ryleigh, Grace and Teagan. The three 5-year-old girls will act as ambassadors for the seventh annual Summer Bash for Childhood Cancer on Saturday. Teagan and Ryleigh were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at ages 2½ and 3½, respectively. Teagan finished her treatment in July 2012, and Ryleigh will finish hers in September.

Saturday's seventh annual Summer Bash for Childhood Cancer is designed for guests to have fun. Festivities will include silent and live auctions, raffles, music, food and beverages.

The serious reason for the bash won't be minimized, however.

Cancer is the No. 1 disease killing children today. One of every 330 Americans younger than 20 develops cancer each year. That's an annual total of more than 12,000 new cases.

Proceeds from the bash help the Metro Area Youth Foundation support families with children affected by cancer.

One of those families is headed by Steve and Andrea Wright of Omaha.

They are the parents of 5-year-old triplets Ryleigh, Grace and Teagan. The girls are this year's Summer Bash ambassadors.

Teagan was 2½ and Ryleigh was 3½ when they were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. Ryleigh will finish her treatment in September. Teagan finished hers in July 2012.

All three sisters will start kindergarten Monday in separate classrooms at Black Elk Elementary School in Millard.

Grace likes to draw, color and play dress up. Ryleigh loves My Little Pony and coloring. Teagan adores dolls and enjoys reading. The sisters all like playing outdoors, doing puzzles and painting.

Members of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa Optimist Clubs make up the Metro Area Youth Foundation.

So far this year, the foundation has helped 40 families directly with everyday living expenses (rent, mortgage, utilities, car repairs) and travel for second medical opinions or medical treatment.

Besides helping families, the foundation supports the pediatric oncology units of the Nebraska Medical Center and Children's Hospital & Medical Center Hematology and Oncology Clinic, and summer camping experiences at Camp Quality and Camp CoHoLo.

The bash will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Tip Top Ballroom, 1502 Cuming St. Tickets, $50 for adults or $25 for children ages 5 to 12, may be purchased through Tuesday by calling Tanya Shaul, 402-871-6246.

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