Healing Hearts

A night of music added up to a symphony of support for a local charity.

Naperville North High School recently hosted the 2nd annual Healing Hearts With Harmony, a benefit concert created by Naperville North Senior Taylor Kroma.

The teen started the event last year to raise funds for the doctors and nurses who kept her father alive after a near death experience. This year, she decided to shift to a cause that was more ‘swift’.

Kroma adds, “the purpose of tonight’s event is to raise money for the Swifty Foundation, which is a charity where all the money goes to fund pediatric brain cancer because a student who went here a few years ago passed away had brain cancer, and so this is in his memory. That’s what we’re supporting tonight.”

The Swifty Foundation was named in honor of that student, Michael Gustafson, who was diagnosed with high-risk Medullablastoma when he was 10 years old. His on-again-off-again treatment included proton radiation and chemotherapy. After a long battle, Michael, a freshman at Naperville North, passed away in January of 2013.

His mother, Patti Gustafson, was overwhelmed by the opportunity to raise money for her son’s foundation at his own high school.

“The fact that Taylor thought of us just startled me when I got the email,” said Gustafson. “It brought tears to my eyes, I was just so touched by it.”

Pediatric brain cancer is currently the leading cause of death from childhood cancer.

Through other organizations, like the American Cancer Society, only one penny on the dollar goes toward pediatric cancer research. Healing Hearts With Harmonies and the Swifty Foundation intend to change that.

All of the donations received at the concert will go directly to pediatric cancer research through the Swifty Foundation.

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