New co-Chair and new venue for Garden Party

Nick Seebruch
New co-Chair and new venue for Garden Party
Sean Cowan holds a Rachel's Kids House of Hope teddy bear alongside Dr. Navaneelan at her dentistry office on Monday

CORNWALL, Ontario – Rachel’s Kids has announced Sean Cowan, a Grade 9 St. Lawrence Secondary School student, as this year’s co-Chair for the annual Rachel’s Kids Garden Party.

Sean was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia in 2015, but is nearing his goal of recovery, with his last appointment for chemo coming in May.

Chemo brought Sean’s blood cell count down to a low level, and he had to stay in his room, in isolation, for a year and a half. Rachel’s Kids helped Sean break his isolation by getting him a Playstation4, a TV and a nice setup in his room.

“The PS4 helped,” he said. “It gave me something to do and I could talk to my friends.”

Sean said that while he is a little nervous, he is happy to help support an organization that in turn helps so many children who are also struggling.

“Sean has been through a lot and look at him now,” said Dr. Rachel Navaneelan. “He is doing so well.”

Sean had previously told his story at one of the 100 Souls in Support of Rachel’s Kids events. The 100 Souls initiative is a group of 100 supporters of Rachel’s Kids who meet four times a year, and at each one-hour meeting, they contribute $100. Attendees get a chance to get an update on the great work happening at Rachel’s Kids while they mingle.

Sean’s mom, Susan Cowan said that she thought the Garden Party was a great chance for her son to tell his story.

“I think it is a great opportunity for him to be out to tell others about dealing with sickness and raising awareness,” she said.

Sean will be a new face at the Garden Party this year, which also will be held at a new venue.

For the past few years, the Garden Party has been held at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall, but this year, the event will take place at the Cornwall Golf and Country Club.

Kim Lauzon, Executive Director of Rachel’s Kids, said that the change in venue was purely to try something new and fresh.

The Garden Party will have an even larger silent auction this year in addition to the live auction.

Lauzon said that the Garden Party will be ready for anything weather wise. The Garden Party usually takes place outdoors, but they can always retreat inside this year if the weather turns on them.

Last year, the Garden Party raised $161,000 for Rachel’s Kids House of Hope, and early bird tickets for this year’s event are already on sale.

Early bird tickets are $65 and are available at Dr. Navaneelan’s dentistry office on Ninth St. East in Cornwall, or at Rachel’s Kids House of Hope on Boundary Rd. in South Glengarry. Early bird tickets are available until March 31.

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