C'mon Hamilton, step up here!

Friday, October 7, 2011

We're down to the last few days of the Kraft Peanut Butter contest.  We've seen some amazing things happen---an article was published in the Spectator and the Mountain News, but still, The Night Raider lags in fourth place, the winning video showing twice as many votes as ours.  But there's still 3 days left to win this for Esme! Here's the articles from both newspapers:

Paying it forward with peanut power

The Kents, at right - Leslie and James and their children Honour, Afton, Verity, and Jairus, front right. They want to help out the Youngberg family, left - Tamara, Jason, their son William, and daughet Esme, front.
Peanut Butter Contest The Kents, at right - Leslie and James and their children Honour, Afton, Verity, and Jairus, front right. They want to help out the Youngberg family, left - Tamara, Jason, their son William, and daughet Esme, front.
Cathie Coward/The Hamilton Spectator
Local acts of goodwill helped pay for Jairus Kent’s medical treatment. Now, the 10-year-old’s family hopes some goodwill of their own can help another child.
Jairus, 10, was born with Pierre Robin Sequence, which causes a cleft palate and underdeveloped jaw. Jairus is largely nonverbal, speaking at a 21-month-old level. Beginning Tomatis therapy to improve his audio and listening skills costs $5,000.
While applying to charities for assistance, Jairus’s parents Leslie and James Kent signed up for Kraft’s online contest encouraging people to display their love of peanut butter in a short video.
They entered because Jairus is a“peanut butter freak,” Leslie said, and the grand prize winner receives $10,000.
Two days before their video was named one of the 10 finalists, Mountain Citadel Salvation Army on Stone Church Road East surprised them with a fundraiser that helped cover most of the cost of starting Jairus’s Tomatis therapy. The Astley Family Foundation pitched in with a donation to cover the remaining costs.
That gave the Kents a chance at helping someone else.
If they win, the Kents will give the money to Tamara and Jason Youngberg to help their daughter, Esme, who also faces expensive medical treatments.
Tamara has been a big part of the Kents’ life as the midwife who delivered their four children. She operates Access Midwives in Stoney Creek, and the two mothers have remained close over the past decade.
Eight-year-old Esme was born with albinism and later developed epilepsy and autism. The cost of Esme’s autism treatment, at the renowned Son-Rise Program based in Massachusetts, is roughly $20,000, Tamara said.
“There’s such a strain on yourself when you’re trying to get that help for your child but aren’t able to because of financial restraints,” Leslie said.
Tamara resisted at first, telling Leslie she would think about her offer of help.
“But at the same time I don’t think she would take no for an answer,” Tamara said with a laugh.
She was hesitant to ask for help since she earns decent money, and took on a second job selling jewellery at house parties “so I can feel like I’ve worked for it,” Tamara said.
If they win the grand prize, Leslie says she’ll be thrilled.
“To have seen the joy (Tamara) has brought to people by bringing their children into the world, and then to see what’s happened with her and her own child … this would be really amazing.”
The whole situation has been overwhelming for Tamara, who says regardless of the outcome, the fact the Kents are willing to do this is remarkable.
“It’s my hope that one day, when my daughter has recovered, I could give to someone else in the same way,” she said.
You can vote for Jairus’s video, entitled TheNightRaider, by going to the PB&__ Video Contest atwww.kraftpeanutbutter.com. Voting closes Monday, Oct. 10.
Family hopes pantry raid video will help a friend
photo by Gord Bowes
By Gord Bowes, News staff
The video is an exaggeration, but it’s not far off the mark, says Leslie Kent.
Her son, Jairus, really does sneak into the pantry for spoonfuls of peanut butter, but not usually under cover of the night sounding like a cat burglar.
“I’ll get up for breakfast and there will be a spoon stuck in the top of the peanut butter,” says Kent.
So when the mother of four saw a commercial back in June for Kraft’s Spread the Feeling video contest, she quickly knew they might have a winner.
“As soon as I saw it, I thought my son would be perfect for it,” says Kent.
They filmed the 33-second entry, which shows Jairus sneaking peanut butter out of the pantry of the family’s west Mountain home in the middle of the night, in just two takes.
The goal at first was to win the $10,000 prize to help pay for special therapy for Jairus, who was born with Pierre Robin sequence.
The condition, which resulted in a cleft palate and small lower jaw, has left Jairus with limited speech. The therapy is designed to help him speak clearly.
But between the time the Kent family entered the video contest and making it to the final 10, their church, Mountain Citadel of the Salvation Army, had raised the money for Jairus’s therapy.
Now they are hoping to win so they can donate the money to Kent’s friend and midwife, Tamara Youngberg, and her daughter Esme, who was recently diagnosed with epilepsy and autism.
“I think for someone who has given so much to Hamilton, (donating the prize money) is an easy thing to do,” says Kent.
Jairus attends Gordon Price, where his peers are encouraging him and voting in the contest daily to help him out.
As of Monday, the Jairus’s video, The Night Raider, trailed in fifth place. The Spread the Feeling contest ends Monday, Oct. 10.
Votes can be placed at kraftpeanutbutter.com.


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