Easter egg hunt benefits kids battling life-threatening illnesses

Local News

The community came together to support a great cause, and have a lot of fun. The Rockin’ Easter Egg Hunt, in West Seneca, helped four local families with kids who are battling life-threatening illnesses. 

“It means a lot that people want to help us so much,” Stella Usiak said. 

15-year-old Stella Usiak was first diagnosed with leukemia eight years ago. She’s now cancer free, but continues treatment for serious side effects from the long battle. 

“I’m getting better, but it’s been just a long time… and it’s hard that it’s been so long.”

A long fight can be a little easier when you feel some support. So, today, at Harlem Road Park, kids picked up eggs to help Stella, and her road to recovery. More than 2,000 eggs were up for grabs. Each one costed $3, and all the proceeds went to Stella, and three other families, including Lisa Lyons’ family. 

“Carly and Grayson and Landon all have conditions called Ehlers-Danlos and Chiari Malformation,” the mom of five said. 

Combined, the three have had seven brain surgeries and 25 other surgeries. They’ve spent countless hours in the hospital here in Buffalo, and in New York City. 

“You kind of feel like you’re all alone on an island the water is rising and you’re kind of drowning,” Lyon said. “Knowing that there’s other people that care, other people that want to know about your kids’ story (and) want to help, it makes it easier to get through the day.”

Each egg was turned in for a rock, for kids to take home. But they weren’t normal rocks. 

“They’re pretty elaborate,” Kimberly LaRussa said, an organizer of the event. “We have WNY artists that paint them. They’ve been painting them for more than six months, and we’ve been gathering them.”

Two years ago Kimberly LaRussa started ‘Sweet Buffalo Rocks.’ She hid painted rocks for people to find around the community. It was a way to put a smile on stranger’s faces. Since then, it’s grown, and rocks are being found all over the country. 

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