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Alyssa's brother, Vince, makes delivery to Gift Recipient in Carmel, IN

On Thursday, April 12th, Vince Alvin, a board member of the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) and Alyssa’s brother, delivered a set of Bose SoundLink II headphones to a young gift recipient by the name of Bella at her home in Carmel, IN.  We first met Bella, her parents and brother at the Ronald McDonald House in Winfield, IL when she was receiving treatment at the Chicago Proton Center.  Bella was diagnosed with a brain tumor and has gone through numerous medical procedures during the last couple of years.  With all that, Bella and her family have still been in regular contact with the various activities and events of AAFH.

Bella’s Mom, Tasha, checks in with us regularly and we heard that Bella would be interested in a set of Bose headphones.  We were delighted to get them for Bella just in time for her 18th birthday.  It is a pleasure to see her smile with a sparkle in her eyes as she listens to her music while wearing the headphones AAFH has given her. 

It is great to also know that Bella continues to be strong in her fight to live her life with hope and joy despite the medical circumstances.  Bella is surrounded by her loving parents and brother who provide her with all their emotional support to get through her ongoing treatments.  Bella is a very bright and strong young adult. 

It is our wish and prayer that Bella fully recovers from her illness and we send love and support from all of us here in the extended AAFH family!

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Music Night at RMH near Comer Children’s Hospital

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) sponsored a Music Night at the Ronald McDonald House on the south side of Chicago near Comer Children’s Hospital on Monday, April 9th.  Two members of the AAFH Executive Team, Denise Perez-Cabrera and Yoli Alvin, volunteered to host the Music Night. 

We arrived with several instruments to hold a hands-on music session with the residents at the house who enjoyed the bongos, music sticks, tambourine, maracas and ukulele.  Two young teens, Sulaiman (15 years old) and Brody (13 years old), and their family members were especially enthralled with the variety of instruments.  Sulaiman was accompanied by his parents and Brody was there with his mom.  We were able to give them additional information about making a gift request on our website and each of them also took an art kit to enjoy at their leisure.  The remaining art kits that we brought were left as donations to the RMH for other youth.

It was wonderful to see the happiness, excitement and curiosity of the young patients trying the different instruments and interacting with their families.

Alyssa’s legacy lives on!

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Remembering Past Gift Recipients Whose Cancer Journey Has Sadly Ended

Last year the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) honored Fernando Ponce and Elijah Rivers.  They were courageous in battling their cancer while being treated at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.IL. 

We are thankful that we were able to touch each of these lives if even for a brief moment to give them joy while they were with us.

Elijah Rivers submitted a request for a keyboard despite the cancer in his hands.  Elijah was a joyful 18-year-old who pursued many interests besides music.  We were able to meet his mom and sisters when we delivered the keyboard to him prior to one of his outpatient visits to Lurie Children’s Hospital.

Last January 2017, Fernando Ponce, requested yarn to weave his first ever blanket.  Fernando  was very happy to receive his yarn and other materials to weave his blanket while at Lurie Children’s Hospital.  We met Fernando's grandma who was with him at Lurie's when we delivered his yarn and she was excited for him.  She had weaved a yarn purse and gave it to Yoli as a token of her appreciation for what we did for Fernando.

Our hearts remember these special gift recipients and we pray for strength for these families.

Despite our sadness, our resolve is stronger than ever to reach as many young adults as possible through the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope to give them hope and joy.

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Fundraiser at Old Crow Smokehouse a Big Success!

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) hosted a fundraiser at the Old Crow Smokehouse in the River North neighborhood in Chicago on March 24, 2018.  This is the second year that we have held this event at the restaurant and we are pleased to say that it was more successful than last year!

This fundraising event was again led by Daniel Guerrero, Alyssa’s cousin, and held at Old Crow through his friendship with Samantha Sanchez, a family member of the restaurant owner.  Besides Daniel’s large group of friends who attended and purchased raffle tickets, many of our supportive friends also enjoyed great barbecue, sides, drinks and desserts.  Special desserts were brought in by another of Daniel’s friends, Jennifer Herrera, through her own business – BakeAblesChicago.com. 

There were many other very generous donors who provided the raffle items including C&C Insurance Solutions, Exelon Generation, Franco’s, Instrument Exchange, Kathy De’s Deli, Kernels Gourmet Popcorn, Old Towne Pub, 360 Flavor & Spice, Villa Verone, Amanda Rico, and more.  Please check-out and support our sponsors on our website…just click HERE.

The food and drinks were great and the desserts were delicious.  Daniel did a great job conducting the raffle and all winners walked away happy with a new item to enjoy.  Even Alyssa’s alma mater, Loyola University, helped make the evening festive with a huge win as they advanced to the Final Four.

We are grateful to all our friends, supporters and donors in attendance and those who were with us in spirit for carrying on Alyssa’s legacy of love for the arts and allowing us to continue to help other youths struggling with life-threatening illnesses.  Thank You!

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Art Night at RMH near Loyola Medical Center in Hines, IL

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) hosted an Art Night at the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola Medical Center on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.  Nancy Nunez, godmother to Alyssa, accompanied Yoli, Alyssa’s mom and President of AAFH, to lead this Art Night with the children and their family members who were staying at the RMH. 

The parents of a young boy were excited to see their son participate in the drawing and coloring activity during the Art Night.  Another young girl was not feeling well initially, however within 15 minutes of the Art Night beginning, she started drawing, smiling and enjoying the event.  It is always a pleasure to watch the happiness our activities bring to the young patients and their families. 

Nancy and Yoli encouraged and praised the efforts of the artists while everyone enjoyed themselves.

Special thanks to David Pittner, Resident Manager at RMH, for facilitating the Art Night and accepting a separate donation of Alyssa Starter Art Kits.

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Because of Your Donations 15 Gift Recipients in 1st Quarter 2018

Dra. Martha Juarez from Hospital Civil de Guadalajara (Viejo) presented Zulema 20 years of age with her new ukulele & Johan 19 years of age with his new guitar on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. 

Thank you to all of you who volunteer and make donations that make it possible to promote the art and music programs of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  You directly impact the lives of these teens and young adult patients being treated for various cancers.

In the first quarter of 2018, Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope has fulfilled the requests of 15 gift recipients from various hospitals:

-6 from Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, Mexico; 

-4 from Hospital Central Dr. Ignacio Morones Prieto in San Luis Potosi, Mexico

-3 from Robert Ann Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, IL;

-1 from Edward Hospital in Naperville, IL; and

-1 from Arnold Palmer Children's Medical Center in Orlando, FL.

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Deliveries of Alyssa SAKs to Advocate Children’s Hospital & RMH

30 Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs)were delivered at RMH near Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL on Wednesday, March 14, 2018.  Both Jenna and Colleen- RMH Managers received a variety of Alyssa SAKs.  These art kits will be given to the teens and young adult patients staying at the RMH.  The art materials allow the teen and young adult patients to be creative and express themselves in a fun way while undergoing treatment for their illnesses. 

30 Alyssa SAKs were delivered to Advocate Children’s Hospital on Friday, March 16, 2018.  The Child Life Team received a variety of Alyssa SAKs:  Lori Mackey-Art Therapist, Julie – Art Therapist and Elizabeth-Music Therapist.   The delivery included 6 types of art kits: adult coloring books, drawing kits, color-me lunch bag kits, journal kits, watercolor and acrylic kits.

We are thankful that we can share Alyssa’s love for the arts with others. 

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Join us at Old Crow Smokehouse River North – March 24th 4-7pm

Join us at the Old Crow Smokehouse River North location in Chicago to benefit the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  Your participation in this event directly contributes in bringing joy, hope and love to young adult cancer patients at hospitals in the Chicagoland area, across the country and around the world. 

Last year we raised over $2,000.  Invite your friends and family and come out and have a fun evening with us to help us beat last years funds raised.  There will be a delicious BBQ along with drinks, music and raffles!

All this is happening on March 24, 2018 from 4-7pm.  So get your tickets today in advance and save $10 per person.  You can go HERE to our website and purchase tickets for $40 online or $50 at the door. If you have any questions or would like to contribute in any way please call our event manager-Daniel Guerrero at 312-437-2070.

Below are pictures from last year’s event.  Come out and be part of the fun with family and friends for a great cause! 

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School of Art Joins AAFH for Art Night

The School of Art staff from Geneva, IL traveled downtown to host an Art Night at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

Patients and their family members participated in drawing, painting and creating art based around the first initial of their name or that of a loved one.  The volunteer instructors from the School of Art, Jennifer and Hannah, directed the budding artists to trace the letter onto a white piece of paper.  The letter then became the background from which the artists were free to create colorful scenes of self-expression.

The smiles all around the tables were clear evidence of the fun that all the participants and volunteers were having in creating their pieces.  We are very grateful to the School of Art in Geneva for donating the materials as well as their time and instruction to the patients and their families.  School of Art instructors utilize a teaching style that encourages creative thought and develops critical thinking.  This guidance has immediate results for attendees and it is an enjoyable experience for them.  Please visit SchoolofArtgeneva.com to learn more about School of Art in Geneva and the services they provide to all ages.

Alyssa’s love for art carries on in the efforts of AAFH and in the joy experienced by all who attended.

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Thankful for Corporate Sponsor Donation of Pentalic Journals

Tara Medeiros who is a graphic designer and social media coordinator at C2F, Inc. recently contacted Yoli-President of Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  C2F is a premier wholesale distributor, manufacturer and importer of fine art, graphics, craft, office and school supplies.  Tara had heard about our foundation and was impressed with how our mission aligned with the company’s own.  Specifically, they were impressed with AAFH’s donations of journal kits to young patients with cancer and other life threatening illnesses.

The company developed the Pentalic brand of journals to allow for maximum creative expression by its users.  Tara said, “the Pentalic brand was created because her company believes memories are created and art happens both inside and outside a person’s regular destinations and routines". It can happen in fixed positions of their home, school or hospital but contain only a portion of their narrative. The boundaries of peoples’ mind and soul cannot be assigned to a single location. They were designed to be lightweight and mobile to give budding artists the ability to jot their thoughts and ideas whenever the muse struck them

Tara visited our website and saw the work AAFH has done with young patients and was impressed enough to make a donation of 4 dozen travel journals in a variety of colors and we are grateful for this very generous donation.  On behalf of AAFH, thank you C2F!

 

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Gift Recipients at Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, Mexico

Dra. Martha Juarez distributed musical instruments donated by the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope to 4 patients at Hospital Civil (Viejo) de Guadalajara, Mexico on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. 

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                                            Photo: L to R - Luis Alfonso, Nurse, Alejandra, Miguel Alfonso & Dra. Martha

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                                                      Servando, 20 years of age, received his electronic keyboard

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                                                              Luis Alfonso, 20 years of age, received his guitar.

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                                                             Alejandra, 20 years of age, received her guitar.

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                                                 Miguel Alfonso, 17 years of age, received his electronic keyboard

We want to thank our dedicated volunteers Dra. Martha-Medical Staff from Hospital Civil (Viejo) and her husband, Hugo, for coordinating the delivery of instruments and Alyssa Starter Art kits for this hospital.

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Diego Goes Home With His Keyboard

Diego a 10-year-old, was almost done receiving his chemo at Lurie Children’s Hospital on Friday, February 2, 2018 when he received a surprise from the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  Yoli – Alyssa’s mom and President of AAFH entered his room on the 18th floor to present him with his new electronic keyboard.  Several nurses that knew and had taken care of Alyssa when she was hospitalized at Lurie were there and had a chance to say hello to Yoli and share memories of Alyssa. It was a special day!

Diego and his mom, Julie, were very excited to see the new keyboard and headphones that came along with the keyboard.  He had a big smile when he unpacked the keyboard and the headphones.  Diego could not wait to get home to set up and start playing the keyboard.   Diego lives with his family in Bolingbrook, IL.  He has two older brothers.

This January 2018, Diego was diagnosed with liver and bone cancer.  Diego enjoys going to the pool, amusement parks and the zoo.  He likes to go to the movie theaters with his family. Diego is in 5th grade and he plays the drums in elementary school.  He has always shown an interest in learning how to play the keyboard and now he will be able to do it!

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope was created to give hope and provide outlets for creative expression through art and music for young patients dealing with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.  As you can see, Alyssa’s inspiration continues to bring our gift recipients a bit of joy in Alyssa’s memory. 

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Music Night at RMH in Winfield

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) sponsored a Music Night at the Ronald McDonald House in Winfield, IL near Central DuPage Hospital on Wednesday, January 31st.  Huntar Jones, a former student at Yorkville High School where she heard about Alyssa and our foundation, hosted the first music night of 2018! 

We are very grateful to Huntar for dedicating her time and talent to lead a hands-on music session with the residents at the House.  All the residents in attendance that evening enjoyed the music, especially a 3-year old girl, Aaliyah.  Aaliyah is staying at the House with her family from Blue Island, IL and going in the morning to the Proton Center where she is being treated for a brain tumor.  Her family was very happy to see Aaliyah so interested in the ukulele instrument.  Aaliyah had never had the opportunity to hold or play a ukulele before, so this was very special for them.  The youngest child who came to the community room for the music night was 18-month-old Marcus from Indianapolis.    

Everyone had fun holding and playing the musical instruments donated to this RMH by the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope.  These instruments remain in their music room and are available for the use of the residents at their request and convenient while staying there.  It is truly amazing to see the children happy, excited and curious to test the musical instruments.  Alyssa’s musical legacy lives on!

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Clarinet Delivered to Hannah at Edward Hospital, Naperville, IL

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) delivered a clarinet to 15-year-old Hannah at Edward Hospital in Naperville, IL on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.   Hannah is a sophomore at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, IL.  She lives in Bolingbrook with her family.  Hannah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in July 2016 and is being treated at University of Chicago & Comer Children’s Hospital.  She also is receiving chemo as an outpatient at the Edward Cancer Center. 

Hannah is very interested in music, animals and space.  She plays percussion at Neuqua Valley High School and is now interested in learning how to play the clarinet.  She also likes to hang out with her friends, read, write, and play video games.

We caught Hannah just before she was going to receive her chemo treatment.  Our volunteers who delivered the clarinet to Hannah included Randy Zbasnik, Toni Pedroza and Alyssa's mom & President of AAFH-Yoli Alvin.   We are happy to share Alyssa’s love for music through these gift requests.

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Kaela Is Going to Lana Del Rey's Orlando Concert

Kaela is a 15 year old being treated for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) at Orlando Health.  Orlando Health is part of a hospital system in Orlando, FL that includes UF Health Cancer Center and Arnold Palmer Children's Medical Center.

Kaela loves music, plays the guitar, sings and writes music.  Kaela is also apparently a big fan of Lana Del Rey and she asked if we could get her tickets to attend Lana's concert in Orlando, FL on February 2, 2018.  Luckily, Kaela had Lori Heilman BS, CTRS at Orlando Health's Child Life department contact us immediately and we got her two tickets for her enjoyment.

We hope Kaela enjoys the concert and gets a bit of respite from the medical treatments she's receiving.

In the photos below we have starting from the back left, Lori in the blue sweater, Kaela holding the tickets, Freda-LPN and Tennesha-RN.  In the front holding up the "Thank You" sign is Kaela's Mom-Richelle and to her left Kelly- Radiation Therapist.

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AAFH Serves Brunch at RMH near Comer Children’s Hospital

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) had a group of volunteers prepare and serve brunch to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House near the University of Chicago and Comer Children’s Hospital on Sunday, January 21, 2018.  We were greeted by Anne-the RMH Resident Manager and Ann-University of Chicago-Oncology nurse staff.

The group of volunteer cooks, preparers, servers and cleaners was organized and led by Daniel Guerrero, Alyssa’s cousin.  The group also included Jennifer H., Lindsay B., Mario D., Ron H., Tim E. and Yoli, Alyssa’s mom and President of AAFH.  We thank all of our volunteers for taking time out of their busy schedules to join us in the first event of 2018!

As you may know, the Ronald McDonald Houses were established as a place for families to stay and get their meals while a child in the family is being treated for cancer.  While Alyssa was receiving her treatments, the Alvin family was able to stay at the nearby RMH and get rest and nourishment between hospital visits.  Today, through the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope, we frequent many of the local RMHs for Art and Music Nights as well as donating Alyssa Starter Art Kits (SAKs) there for the young patients.

A mom, Cindy, whose 17 year old daughter, Emma, is being treated at University of Chicago shared with us that Emma loves art.  Yoli explained the Gift Recipient program to Cindy and before the day was over, Emma was wearing an Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope T-shirt we gave Cindy for Emma (pictured below).  We look forward to honoring Emma's gift request.  

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A White Ukulele for a Joyful Alexis

On Friday, January 19th, Alexis an 11-year-old was surprised by Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope at Lurie Children’s Hospital.  Upon entering her room on the 21st floor, Alexis greeted us with a big smile when she saw the white ukulele we were carrying. She was filled with joy and happiness in anticipation of playing her new instrument. The photos below show Alexis’ excitement with her new ukulele.  Alexis’ Dad, Rick, was with her when we visited her.

Last October 2017, Alexis was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).  Alexis lives in Chicago’s north side and is in the 6th grade.  She has always wanted to play the ukulele ever since her teacher would play one in her classroom.  Alexis is shy but she wants to learn how to play the ukulele.  Her mom, Sandy, told us that giving Alexis a ukulele would be a great distraction for her during treatment.  She is home schooled for now as she continues her chemo treatments.  Once she is fever free, Alexis will be going back home again.

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope was created to give hope and provide outlets for creative expression through art and music for young patients dealing with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.  As one can see, Alyssa’s inspiration continues to bring our gift recipients a bit of joy in her memory. 

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Gift Requests Honored for Children in San Luis Potosi, Mexico

The Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) delivered musical instruments and Alyssa Starter Art Kits to young patients being treated for cancer at Hospital Central of Dr. Ignacio Morones Prieto in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.  This delivery was especially gratifying because both of Alyssa’s grandparents were born in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi.

While there, we met with the Director of the hospital’s Social Worker Department, Ximena Ruiz Meza, who happily arranged for the deliveries to occur that same afternoon.  Four ukuleles were personally handed out to the following gift recipients: Brayan Alfredo Estrada Quintero-14 year-old, Clara Elizabeth Arroyo Leyva-11 year-old, Arturo Mena Rangel-15 year-old, and Juan Josue Segura Garcia-13 year-old (not pictured-purple ukulele)

35 art kits were left at the Hospital Civil for the benefit of other young patients being treated for cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

AAFH has traveled to multiple cities in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a few overseas.  It is a great pleasure to bring joy to young patients wherever we can reach them.  The same joy that Alyssa always experienced with art and music even as she struggled with her own illness.  AAFH funds are used for the purchase of the musical instruments and art supplies for all the deliveries.  We are glad to take some time from our own personal travels to touch the lives of others and bring them joy in memory of Alyssa.

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Omarion Gets Lots of Art Supplies

On Monday, January 8, 2018, the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) delivered art supplies to 15-year-old Omarion Ford at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL.  Omarion is a freshman at Thornwood High School in South Holland, IL.  He lives in Calumet City with his Mom, Antoinette.

Omarion and Antoinette submitted a gift request form recently and AAFH was happy to honor it with the crafts and painting materials that he had asked for.  Omarion is a talented young artist who has designed and fabricated intricately detailed doll houses among other things.  He loves to create.

Though Omarion was at the hospital to receive treatment for his struggle with cancer, his gift brought a smile to his face and he looks forward to putting his art materials to use.  We are happy to share Alyssa’s love for the arts and music through these gift request donations.

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Alyssa Starter Art Kits Donated to Northwestern University & Sunrise Children’s Hospital

On Tuesday, December 19th, Alyssa Starter Art Kits were delivered to Northwestern University Hospital in Chicago.  A total of 25 Alyssa SAKs were dropped off with Stacy Stanford who is the Clinical Psychologist at Northwestern University Hospital.  While on the Northwestern Comprehensive Cancer Center floor, Yoli ran into her niece’s friend, Siria and her son who were in the waiting room.  Yoli gave Siria's son one of the color-me lunch SAKs and Siria one of the journal kits.  Both of them were happy to see Yoli and talked about the wonderful work the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) is doing for young patients.

On Wednesday, December 27th, Alyssa SAKs were delivered to Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, NV.  Erin Larson-Child Life Specialist in the Emergency Room accepted the art kits.

The AAFH was created to give hope and provide outlets for creative expression through art and music for young patients dealing with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. 

As you can see, Alyssa’s inspiration continues to bring other young patients the opportunity to experience with different art mediums like watercolors, acrylics, drawing, coloring and journaling.

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