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Kruse Way Rotary celebrates its 20th Candlelighters Christmas Party

by: SUBMITTED PHOTOS, 
Kyle Chandler, 9, Lake Oswego, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus Sunday at the Candlighters party. A fourth grader at Lake Grove Elementary School, he is the son of Don and Julie Chandler. Santa (played by Rotarian Alan Glickman) and Mrs. Claus (played by Nanci Cumming, Kruse Way Rotary Club president) were popular people at the event.

The Magic of Chrismas and the gift of Candlelighters support for children were two ingredients that sparkled together in the Kruse Way Rotary Club's 20th annual Christmas party for childhood cancer patients and their families.

The Sunday event was held at the Embassy Suites of Tigard and attended by more than 250 children along with their families that comprise the Candlelighters of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Each year, members of the Kruse Way Rotary Club plan, develop and conduct the event, including making sure every child from age 2 to 20 receives a special moment and present with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

'Every year we serve these families with this wonderful party,' said Nanci Cummings, Kruse Way Rotary Club president, 'and every year we say this was the best party ever and every year it gets even better.'

Cummings added that the event allows youngsters with cancer an opportunity to take a step away from their affliction, 'forget their situations' and just enjoy being a kid for a few hours.

Included in this year's festivities were the dancers of the Lake Oswego Academy of Dance, Festival Brass, Rose City Clowns, the Chamber Bear and friends, the Oregon Duck and Oregon State Beaver, magician Mystic Mitch, the Reptile Man and the Radio Disney Street Team and DJ Pete Lett, who provided music.

'Every year we have about 20 clowns from the Rose City Clowns,' said event leader Kirsten Carnese. She noted that the 'Radio Disney Street Team performed an interactive dance and song' that was enjoyed by many of the children.

'Thanks to great weather and a proactive organization like Candlelighters, there was a record turnout of more than 400 total guests,' said Art Scevola for Kruse Way Rotary. 'Kruse Way event leader Kirsten Carnese and past club president Terry Dean were terrific emcees and, in the best spirit of the season, helped focus all on their shared love for the children.'

He offered special thanks to 'The Bank of the West, Embassy Suites staff and all the Kruse Way Rotarians whose financial support and hard work culminated in Sunday's party.'

Candlelighters is a support group dedicated to its member families and provides economic and household assistance to meet the many unique needs of children and their parents for the duration of their cancer experience .

For Kruse Way Rotary membership information, call 503-890-8716.