Riptide’s Benefit Concert and the Corned Beef Mafia’s Ride for Research in Honor of Kayla Wenger

Jeanne Young and Eric Wenger

Kayla enjoyed a normal childhood during her early years, much like her friends.  She danced ballet, hula-hooped, jumped rope, played basketball, and played soccer.  However, there was something different, and the difference in Kayla eventually manifested as a malignant brain tumor and was diagnosed soon after her seventh birthday.  Her ependymoma was soon removed and in the two years following, Kayla endured radiation, chemotherapy, and additional surgery.  She now has significant physical challenges and has more work ahead.

On Sunday, February 8, 2009, Riptide, a band comprised of local youths, performed a concert to raise money for the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF).  The four seventh graders, Max Greenblatt, Jake Harburg, Matthew Schick, and David Waldman played in honor of their friend, Kayla Wenger, a 9-year-old brain tumor survivor. The performance took place at "Bach-to-Rock," a local school for music, which was packed with fans.  The concert was part of a social action project that the boys undertook in preparation for their Bar Mitzvahs.  Jake Harberg, stated, "this was a great way for us to incorporate our love of music with the Jewish value of 'tzedakah', which means charity." 

Kayla's parents said they "were very impressed with how well the band played," and added that they were "extremely touched by the fact that these boys chose to honor our daughter's courageous battle against this terrible disease."Fundraising events, such as those organized by the members of Riptide, allow CBTF to fund invaluable research and continue its mission.

This is the second major CBTF fundraiser in Kayla's honor in the past 12 months.  Last summer, four family friends who called themselves the "Corned Beef Mafia" raced mountain bikes in shifts for 24 hours.  Mike Goldsmith, Daniel Heimlich, Danny Pluznik, and Jeff Yentis managed to complete the race---without injury---and raised more than $14,000 for the CBTF in the process.  The Wenger family said that they "continue to be amazed by the generosity of our friends."

Kayla is an amazing young lady with unlimited grace, who despite the hardships she has endured, continues to persevere with incredible courage and hope that is awe inspiring to the people who meet her.  Kayla laughs with her siblings and as typical of siblings, argues with them too.  Kayla is forever confident that she will again, someday, soon, be out running with her friends at recess.

Kayla fought a courageous battle, died in 2012.

CBTF thanks Riptide, the Corned Beef Mafia, the Wenger Family, and all of the people who supported these incredible efforts.


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