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updated: 8/20/2011 8:57 AM

Villa Park Recreation makes sweet donation

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  • Atia Lutarewych, 3, meets King Kandy as she arrives at her Celebration of Life event held recently at Chateau Ritz in Niles. The event raised $8,500 for Atia's Project Ladybug Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps children with cancer and their families.

      Atia Lutarewych, 3, meets King Kandy as she arrives at her Celebration of Life event held recently at Chateau Ritz in Niles. The event raised $8,500 for Atia's Project Ladybug Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps children with cancer and their families.
    Courtesy of Villa Park Recreation Department

  • Atia Lutarewych, 3, was one of about 250 people to play Life Size Candy Land at her Celebration of Life event held recently at Chateau Ritz in Niles. The event raised $8,500 for Atia's Project Ladybug Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps children with cancer and their families.

      Atia Lutarewych, 3, was one of about 250 people to play Life Size Candy Land at her Celebration of Life event held recently at Chateau Ritz in Niles. The event raised $8,500 for Atia's Project Ladybug Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps children with cancer and their families.
    Courtesy of Villa Park Recreation Department

  • Atia Lutarewych, 3, left, follows her cousin around the colorful Life Size Candy Land game board. Villa Park Recreation donated use of the game to Atia's Celebration of Life, held recently at Chateau Ritz in Niles. The event raised $8,500 for Atia's Project Ladybug Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps children with cancer and their families.

      Atia Lutarewych, 3, left, follows her cousin around the colorful Life Size Candy Land game board. Villa Park Recreation donated use of the game to Atia's Celebration of Life, held recently at Chateau Ritz in Niles. The event raised $8,500 for Atia's Project Ladybug Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps children with cancer and their families.
    Courtesy of Villa Park Recreation Department

  • Villa Park Recreation Department Program Supervisor Mikie Rudyk, left, watches Atia, center, and a friend play Life Size Candy Land at Atia's Celebration of Life, held recently at Chateau Ritz in Niles. The event raised $8,500 for Atia's Project Ladybug Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps children with cancer and their families.

      Villa Park Recreation Department Program Supervisor Mikie Rudyk, left, watches Atia, center, and a friend play Life Size Candy Land at Atia's Celebration of Life, held recently at Chateau Ritz in Niles. The event raised $8,500 for Atia's Project Ladybug Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps children with cancer and their families.
    Courtesy of Villa Park Recreation Department

 
By Janet Vargas
Villa Park Recreation

Villa Park Recreation Department staff and volunteers helped make its award-winning Life Size Candy Land game part of a recent fundraiser.

The department had been approached this spring by representatives of Atia's Project Ladybug Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps children with cancer, to participate in the Atia's Celebration of Life event by bringing the Life Size Candy Land game to the event.

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Atia's Project Ladybug Fund representatives also offered to pay for use of the game, but the department declined, opting instead to donate the game. About 250 people were able to try the game during the three-hour event at Chateau Ritz in Niles.

Project Ladybug was founded by Dina Manzo, formerly of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" and host of "Dina's Party," set to air on HGTV this fall.

The organization aims to lift the spirits and improve quality of life for children with cancer and their families by providing financial and emotional support.

Although the nonprofit started in New Jersey, Manzo brought the charity to Chicago after meeting 3-year-old Atia Lutarewych, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2009.

Atia's strength and spirit moved Dina so much that the fund was launched in Atia's name in hopes of helping other children fight cancer with the same spirit Atia does.

The Atia's Celebration of Life event raised $8,500. All proceeds directly benefit pediatric cancer patients and their families at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago.

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