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Benefit to aid girl with leukemia set for Carson's Tavern in Scottdale

| Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Joe and Karin Hawk have been involved with CureSearch for Children's Cancer since March 5, 2013.

That was the day their daughter Sydney was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 3. Shortly after that, Sydney was found to have Philadelphia-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a rare subtype of leukemia present in just 3 percent of children.

The disease currently is in remission for Sydney, now 5, and her parents want to do what they can to aid in the efforts of CureSearch.

With this in mind, the Team Hope for Sydney Benefit for CureSearch for Children's Cancer is scheduled for 8 p.m. Aug. 9 at Carson's Tavern, 404 North Broadway. As of this time, scheduled to perform are musician Steve Hawk (Sydney's uncle) and Adelaide in Autumn, a band based in Greensburg.

“CureSearch helped in the development of a drug that combats her rare form of leukemia,” Joe Hawk said. “We thought it was important to get involved (with CureSearch) with what we have to deal with and with the hope that any future children and families will not have to go through that.”

CureSearch for Children's Cancer is a national nonprofit organization that accelerates the cure for children's cancer by driving “innovation, eliminating research barriers and solving the field's most challenging problems,” according to its website.

Also planned for the benefit are raffle baskets and a 50/50. There will be a $5 cover charge. Hope for Sydney T-shirts will be on sale and the opportunity will exist to join the team on the walk or register as a virtual walker.

Joe Hawk was looking to having a benefit in Scottdale, a town in which the 1988 graduate of Southmoreland High School lived for almost 34 years. He now lives in Bridgeville with Karin and Sydney and daughter Addison, 7.His father, also named Joe, was a longtime teacher in the Southmoreland School District, before he retired in 2007.

“I wanted to do something in Scottdale, because the community is so outpouring with prayers and kindness,” Hawk said. “Being from there, I want to try and include those people in helping to grow CureSearch.”

The community has, indeed, reached out to help Sydney and the Hawk family on many occasions. The 2013 Pitch-In softball tournament raised more than $5,000 for Sydney.

“They've gone above and beyond,” said Joe Hawk. “It really makes you proud to say that is my hometown. Just the outpouring of support we've received from everyone....Overwhelming is the word I used I don't know how many times.

It just really shows what the community is about and is willing to do. It's typical small-town America, where everybody knows everybody and everybody cares about everybody.”

Hawk is quick to mention the Aug. 9 event is not to raise money for his family, but for CureSearch. The organization does a have a fundraising walk planned for Aug. 23 at Schenley Park. He and other family members will be participating as part of Team Hope for Sydney. They raised about $1,300 for the cause in the 2013 walk.

“The objective is to raise money for our team to contribute to CureSearch,” Hawk said. “We're trying to find unique ways to increase the ways to promote CureSearch.”

Kerri Livengood, manager at Carson's, said the facility is happy to host the event. Carson's has been involved with a number of charitable events, including its annual Toys for Tots drive

“Not only are the Hawks a great family from the community, but Steve Hawk played here quite a few times. Being it's his family we would love to help him,” she said. “They would do it for us. Every little bit helps.”

Hawk said his brother Steve is trying to secure more acts for the event, but for now he and a couple members of the band Adelaide in Autumn are scheduled for some acoustic sets.

Hawk said Sydney is doing quite well and the disease has been in remission for some time. He continues to be amazed at the courage with which she has battled this rare disease.

Infections, which affected her left lung and abdomen ,led to five months at Children's Hospital and six weeks in an intensive care unit.

“She's actually doing much better,” he said. “Our concern wasn't even the cancer, our concern was that we were going to lose her to an infection. She's unbelievably strong, unbelievably resilient. She never complains. She continues to get stronger and stronger. She continues to amaze her family with her progress.”

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or

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