Wake Weekly (January 2008)

The Wake Weekly, Wake Forest, N.C., Thursday, January 24, 2008 (page 8A)
Cancer nonprofit group hosts Girls’ Night Out

By Eren Tataragasi, Wake Weekly Staff Writer


Last October, four months after her son's death, Leigh Anne Naas and her husband Aaron founded NathanCan Foundation, Inc.  The NathanCan Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises money year-round to sponsor blood drives, Duke Hospital's Angels Among Us and the National Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.  Money raised from fundraisers also helps local families caring for a loved one suffering from a chronic illness.


So far the foundation has held three fundraisers raising about $6,000.  And with that they've already begun helping two local families.


The first is the Benoit Family of Zebulon whose son Ethan was diagnosed with a terrible degenerative disease at birth.  Ethan turned 1 on Dec. 21 and doctors didn't expect him to live much longer, but he's still "hanging in there," Leigh Anne said.  So far, the NathanCan Foundation has donated dinners, water, hand-sanitizers and will provide medical supplies (with the help of Wake Forest Drug) as well as money for bills and activities for the family's three other children.


"Our experience with Nathan allowed us to understand and anticipate their needs," Leigh Anne said.  Leigh Anne's son Nathan was diagnosed with a brain tumor on his third birthday, and after the grueling chemo treatments and a brief remission, the cancer returned.  Nathan passed away in June.


"It's a good connection," Leigh Anne said about the Benoit family.  "They're exactly the kind of family we want to help."  NathanCan has also assisted a Wake Forest family of five; the mother suffered a brain tumor and one of her sons has developmental issues and uses a wheelchair.  To help them, NathanCan volunteers provided meals and lawn care.  The mother is scheduled for another surgery and Leigh Anne said the organization plans to help out again with meals.


The next fundraiser for NathanCan is Girls' Night Out at Blue Fins Bistro at 3652 Rogers Road.   Girls' Night Out is Jan. 28 and is a private event with room for 50 people.  Fortunately for the organization, all 50 spots filled up over the weekend.  But, if anyone is interested in donating food/meals, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, paper products, 2.5 gallon jugs of water, prepaid gas cards, NetFlix cards, hotel soaps, lotions and shampoos, e-mail info@nathancan.org because all of the listed items can be used and given to needy families and organizations.


During the first few months of its inception, NathanCan volunteers held one fundraiser a month, but they will now settle down a bit and work toward developing a main event that will be held annually.


The NathanCan Foundation's directors include Leigh Anne Naas and Aaron Naas (cofounders), Greg Home, Andres Quintana, Bridgett Campbell, Antoinette Vecellio and Natalie Burgin.  Officers so far are Leigh Anne Naas, president and Jamie Clifton, treasurer.  Board members will vote on a vice president and secretary during their Feb. 11 meeting.


For more information on the Naas family and Nathan's story, visit www.nathancan.org.