PHOTO: (left to right) Natalie Grace Gorsegner of Middletown, Miss Laurie Ruggie and Maggie O'Brien of the Middletown Arts Center, and Hannah Gorsenger. Credit: Andrea Gorsegner
Middletown, N.J. – Each summer the Middletown Arts Center (MAC) provides a creative atmosphere for hundreds of campers of all ages from across Middletown and surrounding communities. This summer four-year old Natalie Grace Gorsegner of Middletown attended camp at the MAC to prepare for school, following a two-year battle with cancer. Her courageous and philanthropic spirit has inspired an entire community to work towards raising $150,000 for childhood cancer research and awareness by her birthday on September 28, 2014.
Natalie Grace Gorsegner was diagnosed on August 16, 2012 with high-risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She attended morning sessions of Art Camp at the MAC with her sister Hannah, age 7, and Miss Laurie Ruggeri. Natalie’s mom Andrea felt the MAC provided the ideal environment to take baby steps and start acclimating her to a school environment. She will be attending Kindergarten in Fall 2015.
“Natalie Grace has lost so much of her social skills and has had little desire to be around other people and kids. The energy was just too overwhelming for her,” said Andrea “The Middletown Arts Center has been wonderful, allowing us to socialize her on her own time in a loving and nurturing environment. We have bonded in an indescribable way since she was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2012, and it has been hard for me to leave her with others.”
Today, her family, mom Andrea, dad Dan, sister Hannah, and friends at the Middletown Arts Center are hoping to make her birthday wish come true by raising $150,000 for pediatric cancer research and awareness by September 28, 2014.
Donations collected at the Arts Center, and during other fundraisers that include art auctions and benefit events organized by the Gorsegner family, will support the work of the nonprofit organization, The Truth 365, a grass-roots documentary film and social media campaign that gives a voice to children fighting cancer.
“Miss Laurie has a special gift for bringing love and joy into children’s lives through art. She worked magic with all of the children in her care, but especially with Natalie and her sister. It was quite touching. The Middletown Arts Center is a magical place. ”
Donations in honor of Natalie Grace’s Birthday Wish are accepted at the Middletown Arts Center, located at 36 Church Street in Middletown, NJ (next to the train station).
The Gorsegner family also invites the general public to join them for their benefit dinner at McCloone’s Pier House in Long Branch on September 4th from 6– 10 p.m. Tickets are $100 each and include dinner, open bar, valet parking, and a live performance by singer-songwriter Mikey Wax, named "Artist to Watch" by iHeart radio. Visit the Facebook page “Infinite Love for Natalie Grace” to purchase tickets.