Paige’s Princess Foundation
It all started with a little princess named Paige. Paige Alessandro, age 6, passed away in 2010 with a chronic spinal disability and subsequent stroke. Heather Alessandro, founder of Paige’s Princess Foundation, knows that one positive way to honor those who have passed is to live fully and graciously with a giving heart.
“Paige bravely battled her three to four times a week therapies with a light and joy that made her a superstar,” says Alessandro. “She was an inspiration at her school in Lakota as well as her dance academy and at the hospital. Paige wanted to be an occupational therapist when she grew up despite not having full function in her own hands. Her compassion and kindness to others, as well as her determination and strength, made her a friend to all who knew her.”
Paige’s Princess Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with children having chronic diseases. They provide grants to families in order to fund therapies and equipment that will help their children reach their full potential, ranging anywhere from walking across a room unassisted to simply smiling back at mom and dad.
“Many insurances provide limitations or no coverage for therapy programs as it is not necessarily a life-saving service – but for a child with a disability, it is very much a necessary part of their potential function,” says Alessandro.
Paige’s Princess Foundation works with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to identify patients in need and recommend treatments or equipment for them. They also provide grants for non-clinical therapy such as hippotherapy, music therapy and aquatic therapy.
“These are so important considering these kids are spending so much time in the hospital setting, so doing some ‘fun’ therapy is good for their soul,” says Alessandro. “We consider home equipment such as adaptive bikes, therapy vests, communication devices and hearing aids.”
The foundation initially began by having a third-party 5k and donating their income back to the OT/PT department at Cincinnati Children’s. After being able to provide them with a $31,000 donation, Paige’s Princess Foundation decided to change their design so that they could provide direct assistance for families struggling with medical expenses.
“Since 2011, we have been able to provide direct assistance for therapy services and equipment to over 150 families,” says Alessandro. “We have also supported other programs for children with disabilities and have a specific project designed to help children with disabilities in the classroom. We have provided ‘resource boxes’ filled with adaptive school supplies to over 35 early education classrooms in the Lakota and Lebanon school districts.”
Their biggest yearly fundraiser to date is Paige’s Princess Run, which takes place on May 9, 2015. It is a princess-themed run and carnival at Paige’s school, Wyandot Elementary in Liberty Township. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for kids.
“I personally love getting to have such a rewarding outlet for Paige’s memory,” says Alessandro. “She would be truly elated at all we have accomplished. Every day, someone is thinking of her and saying her name in a way that will bring light to another child. It’s that joy and innocence where you can really connect with Paige again.”
In looking to the future, Alessandro’s goal is to achieve $100,000 in income for 2015, which will allow them to provide assistance to everyone who applies and qualities through their program. “I would also like to expand our program in schools and provide a back to school backpack with adaptive school supplies for students with disabilities to keep at home,” says Alessandro.
“We would love readers to learn more about Paige’s Princess Run and other opportunities,” says Alessandro. “We accept donations year round and we are also in need of volunteers to help with our success and to be an ambassador for Paige.”
To learn more about Paige’s Princess Foundation and future events, visit www.paigesprincessrun.com or their Facebook page.