Cynwyd Elementary School recently hosted the fifth annual "Cal's Cupcake Challenge" to benefit the Calliope Joy Foundation and the Leukodystrophy Center of Excellence at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The fun-filled day featured arts & crafts, a children's cupcake baking competition, face painting, delicious food and 5,000 cupcakes from Philadelphia's finest bakeries. Hundreds of community members, students and staff participated in this year's event, along with volunteers from the Lower Merion High School buildOn club who lent their support to the event.
Calliope Joy Carr - nicknamed Cal - is the youngest child of parents Pat Carr and Maria Kefalas. Cal was diagnosed with late-infantile onset metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) at age 2 in 2012. Leukodystrophies are a group of disorders that affect the white matter of the brain. Children with leukodystrophies are born healthy but start regressing, losing the ability to crawl, walk, speak, eat, smile and laugh. Although leukodystrophies do not currently have cures, if detected in the newborn period, a stem cell transplant may be a therapeutic option for some patients. Early detection also allows for preventative care strategies to improve quality of life for children and their families. There are more than 60 forms of the disease and 1 in 5,000 are affected.
At this year's event, Cal's friends and family joined the Cynwyd community and families impacted by leukodystrophies from across the country to present a $60,000 check - representing funds raised from cupcake sales and the gala earlier this year - to the Leukodystrophy Center at CHOP.
To learn more about the Calliope Joy Foundation and how you can help, click here.