UPDATE: Donations Pour in to Help ROHS Coach and Family
'Love and positive energy' unite supporters of Maleena Hill.
More than 300 friends, family and co-workers came out for the Maleena Hill Fundraiser last Friday at DeCarlo’s Banquet Center in Warren. Maleena, the youngest child of former Royal Oak High School football coach Jeff Hill and his wife Natalie, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Dec. 26, when she was just six-weeks old.
Jacelyn Wehby, one of the organizers of the event, described the night as “filled with laughs and prayers for Maleena—with only a few tears.”
A DJ kept the crowd entertained and informed throughout the evening that was filled with plenty of activity.
“When people first arrived they were able to mix and mingle and check out the tables of raffle prizes and silent auction items,” Wehby said. “Throughout the night we had people selling raffle tickets and a 50/50 pot which grew to almost $2,000. Dinner was served and people still continued to bid on the silent auction and raffle items.”
There were approximately 34 auction items that ran the gamut of events around the area and displayed the generosity of the community.
“There was a variety of sporting events including Tiger, Red Wings and college basketball games, tubs of cheer, Botox packages, sporting event coolers for tailgating, hockey pucks and autographed jerseys,” Wehby said. “There were 70 raffle items, including a lottery tree, golf packages, signed hats – Hungry Howies donated one pizza a week for a year – and there were tons and tons of donations beyond belief. We even had a 43-inch plasma television donated.”
Following the meal the raffle winners were announced and the auction ended.
“People were able to give Jeff and Natalie a hug, shake their hand and just ask, ‘How are you doing?’” Wehby said.
The family has been overwhelmed by the community outreach and support.
“The night was amazing,” Jeff Hill said. “There were tons of friends, family and co-workers. There was lots of love and positive energy in the room.”
Each table had a greeting from family members that expressed their gratitude to the attendees. One card was inscribed with, “Words can't express our gratitude to the overwhelming response and support we received from all for Maleena's fundraiser.”
Brian Gordon, the Royal Oak High School athletic director, and Deb Anderson, of the school board, were spotted among the many guests.
According to Hill, Maleena’s treatment is “going well and her body is handling chemotherapy well.”
Maleena came home from Children’s Hospital this past Saturday when her blood levels were normal enough to allow it. However, she had to have a transfusion and an immune enhancing IV that took several hours.
Updates on Maleena’s condition can be found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/maleenahill.
Blood drive to honor Maleena
The Royal Oak PTSA is also sponsoring a district wide blood drive event to honor Maleena. The blood drive is on March 6 from 1-7 p.m at the Berkley Donor Center, according to Council President Allison Sykes.