Meet the Beneficiaries for Taste of Syracuse 2024

June 4, 2024

Categories: community, Company News, In the Community

By Dawn Kellogg

We’ve been the title sponsor of Taste of Syracuse since 2017. If you’ve been, you know what a huge treat this event is! Not only is it Central New York’s biggest food and beverage festival, it’s also jam-packed with music. This year, we’re welcoming Cracker and Hanson to the stages on Saturday night. And the best part? Entry to the festival and all the music is absolutely free! With over 150 food vendors offering $2 tastes, it’s a bargain!

Each year at Taste of Syracuse, we choose two local charities to champion, helping to raise funds and giving them a platform to spread the word about the work that they do in Central New York. This year, all funds raised in our Game Zone will benefit Paige’s Butterfly Run and Griffin’s Guardians.

Paige’s Butterfly Run

In 1993, Paige Yeomans Arnold was a seemingly healthy 6-year-old first grader at Palmer Elementary in Baldwinsville, when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She was treated at what is now the Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse. She ultimately underwent a bone marrow transplant in an effort to cure her leukemia at Boston Children’s Hospital in 1994. Sadly, complications from the transplant led to her death in August of that year. 

Three years later, teachers at Palmer Elementary wanted to honor her in what would have been her last year at school. They decided on a walk/run event with all proceeds benefiting a scholarship fund and the Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders in Paige’s memory. The butterfly was selected as symbol of the event, not only because Paige was fond of them, but because they typified her: beautiful and gentle, but strong beyond imagining. The walk/run was held at Palmer Elementary until 2007. In 2008, Paige’s Butterfly Run moved downtown to coincide with Taste of Syracuse. In 2016, two additional fundraising events were added: Pedaling 4 Paige (an indoor spinning event) and Clams 4 Cures Clambake.

Since 1997, Paige’s Butterfly Run has raised over $5,000,000 to benefit current and future pediatric cancer patients and their families through research and patient programs at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Griffin’s Guardians

Griffin had big brown eyes and a smile that melted your heart. He loved all sports, but his passion for hockey and soccer was evident to those who knew him. Griffin’s sense of humor was beyond his seven years, and it made you fall in love with him instantly. His zest for life was contagious and he coined the family phrase, “It’s a great day to be alive”! He said this countless times in his short life, always with his hands in the air, looking up. His dance moves made you want to join him, his laughter made you want to laugh right there with him, his smile hit you in your heart like nothing else. The bravery and courage he showed throughout the last year made you want to stand by him and fight with him. Griffin made not only his family and friends proud of the strength and bravery he showed over the last 14 months fighting the cancer but, the entire community that fell in love with him. His family will never say Griffin lost his battle to cancer, but that he won… he won the hearts of so many.

Throughout Griffin’s battle with cancer, his parents were shocked to learn how little funding is allocated to pediatric cancer research and founded Griffin’s Guardians in his memory.  Through annual events such as a hockey tournament, Change for Hope campaign, Penalty Kick Soccer Shoot Out, golf tournament, bottle and can drive, the organization provides support and financial assistance to children battling cancer in Central New York. They work hand-in-hand with Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital to stay up to date on the current needs of patients and families. Additionally, they strive to bring awareness to pediatric cancer and provide financial ad for funding pediatric cancer research.

Griffin’s siblings have found their own way to support families as well under the Griffin’s Guardians banner. Griffin’s older sister, Grace, started Grace’s Sibling Sunshine, sending care packages to siblings of cancer patients to let them know that they are brave and strong, too. Griffin’s younger brother, Everett, started EVERett Lasting Memory with Katrina Lynne StoryOgraphy to capture the beauty of families treating at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital with a child in pediatric cancer, because “every picture tells a story.”

The stories and the memories of these two remarkable children inspire us and we hope that visitors to this year’s Taste of Syracuse will be equally inspired to help us raise money to support patients with pediatric cancer and their families in Central New York.

Click here for more information on Paige’s Butterfly Run.

Click here for more information on Griffin’s Guardians.

For more info on The Summit Federal Credit Union Taste of Syracuse visit: Taste of Syracuse