Parents work to raise $50,000 for a cancer research grant

LEMOYNE, Pa. (WHTM) – We all have a pair of shoes lying around we just don’t wear anymore. A Midstate consignment shop is looking to turn those in life-saving research.

Customers came and went at Free Spirit Children’s Clothing in Lemoyne on Saturday. What they took didn’t matter as much to manager Amber Bishop as what some of them left.

“It’s easy to bring in,” she said. “It’s easy to set up and everyone wears shoes, everyone needs shoes.”

Bishop spent the day sorting a lot of them — hundreds of donated pairs.

“So that’s going to be my job for the next couple days,” she said. But the chore is not for the benefit of the business.

“Now their goal is to raise $50,000 for a grant,” Bishop said of Ryan and Jill Neuhard. To understand why, take a walk in the couple’s shoes.

“It really brought our family to a point where, you know, we knew if Adyson survived, we were going to give back,” Ryan Neuhard said.

Adyson Machemer, Neuhard’s step-daughter, was 4 years old in 2011 when she started getting tired easily and complaining of knee pain. Doctors tested her blood.

That night Ryan and Jill got a call.

“We think your daughter has leukemia and there’s a bed ready at Hershey Medical Center,” Jill Neuhard recalled the doctor saying. “You need to get her there right away.”

Two and a half years of research-based treatment followed. “During that time she received over 20 spinal taps,” Ryan said.

“We are proud to say coming into this July she’ll be two years in remission.”

Now her mom and step-dad are raising that $50,000 for a research grant in Ady’s name so maybe the next child won’t have to endure the same kind of treatments.

“We are very close” to reaching the goal after nearly nine weeks of fundraising, Ryan said.

That’s where the shoes come in. Free Spirit hopes to get hundreds more donated by Tuesday — “Adult, children, men’s, women’s, any season, we’ll take anything in,” Amber said — up for sale starting Wednesday.

Hopefully, it’s the final step in the fundraising campaign.

“We are so close,” Ryan Neuhard said, “that we just need a little bit more support.”

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