Hundreds bring hope for cancer-stricken baby

February 26, 2011 3:39:06 PM PST
It was a huge turnout at Chickie's and Pete's Saturday afternoon.

They were gathering to raise money and hope for a brave little girl who's battling a rare form of brain cancer. The initial goal was to raise $10,000 for the family- that was surpassed before the event even began.

Well over 300 people arrived to the South Philadelphia restaurant to help Baby Julia.

Parents Claudia and Bob Donohue of Drexel Hill remember the day last November when their lives turned upside down.

"We just felt like our entire world just crashed," Claudia said.

They had taken then 5-month-old Julia to the hospital with what they thought was a stomach virus. But tests revealed she had a rare form of brain cancer which was also present on her spine.

"Julia was always such a good baby, always such a smiley happy baby, so when we heard it was just very hard to believe, to imagine our lives without her," Claudia said.

Bob is a firefighter for Bon Air Fire Company in Havertown. So this afternoon, his fellow firefighters, along with friends, and family including Julia's big sister Isabella packed in to Chickie's and Pete's for the fundraiser.

The baby of honor was home resting. After all, at only 9-months-old, Julia has already had four surgeries, in addition to weekly chemotherapy. The cancer is so rare, there's no established form of treatment.

"It's one of those things, we have a year of chemo in front of us, just hoping for the best," Bob said.

A slew of baskets were donated to raise money for the Donohues, who have had to take time off work in addition to the cost of treatment.

The support has been overwhelming.

"People who don't even know her have really just embraced her fight and want to help," event organizer Alaina Marchio said.