GUEST BLOG – Megan Henry, Public Relations student at Centennial College
At only seven years old, undergoing his first Remicade infusion for Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory bowel disease) at SickKids, Aaron Maresky decided he wanted to start his own charity. It was an immediate feeling for him. He realized his family was fortunate to have his costly medication covered by insurance, but understood that many children and families were not as lucky.
Aaron and his family started Aaron’s Apple in 2010 to raise money for families to cope with overwhelming medical costs. The charity is directly affiliated with the SickKids Patient Amenities Fund, which provides financial assistance to families caring for an ill child.
The Maresky family believes it is very important to give both their time and hearts to other children and families at the hospital. At a recent visit to SickKids, Aaron and his family delivered toys to a few children in the hospital. “It felt so great to do something good, it felt very inspiring,” Aaron’s mom, Mandy, said.
Support is important in understanding that you are not alone, especially when impacted by a chronic illness. Aaron and his family don’t just give support to other families, they also receive it. The Aaron’s Apple ambassadors who raise awareness and help others feel empowered are a huge support for Aaron, as many of them are also living with IBD. Aaron’s family and friends are also a support for him, including the hospital. “SickKids is like a home, it’s hard to explain, but it’s a very comforting, supportive environment. Everyone at the hospital is so supportive of Aaron and the charity,” Mandy said.
On Thursday, March 6, Aaron’s Apple is hosting their annual gala, which will be an evening of education and inspiration for those living with IBD and other autoimmune diseases. In the past, Aaron’s Apple fundraising events have been sold out with significant funds raised. This year’s gala goal is to have an intimate, inspirational evening with an expected guest list of 250 people. “It’s more of a hope and healing night than a celebratory gala,” Mandy said. More information about this event can be found by visiting Aaron’s Apple website.
With huge hearts and a passion to help, the Maresky family is the true definition of a SickKids hero.