On Sunday, July 22nd the Alyssa Alvin Foundation for Hope (AAFH) held a special Italian meal for the resident families and our guests at RMH in Chicago to celebrate Alyssa’s Life!  The lunch included a performance by the Matea Valley Jazz Combo.

Daniel Guerrero, Alyssa’s cousin, hosted and gathered a group of his friends - Mario DiCarlo, Mario Castagna, Marissa Castagna, Jennifer Bertucci, Krysta Rojas and Kristina Juarez generously volunteered to purchase the ingredients and prepare the Italian meal which consisted of salad, pasta, meatballs, sausage and peppers as well as cupcakes.  Alyssa’s Godmother, Nancy Avila, surprised us by bringing a delicious carrot cake donated by Susie Avila, her sister-in-law. 

Daniel, a lineman for the Chicago Transit Authority with IBEW Local 9, was joined by his good friend Jonathon Burkhard who is also a Local 9 Lineman and his father, IBEW Local 9 Business Manager, Mr. John Burkhard.  We are very appreciate of the generous donations from the IBEW LOCAL 9 Chicago Office and from Jonathan and his family. 

Seven members of the Matea Valley Jazz Combo volunteered to play for Alyssa’s celebration: Cara Neidenbach (trumpet), Ben Doyle (drums), Crystal Adaya (Saxophone), Claire Baranyk (Tenor Saxophone), Nick (Bass), Neel Surti (guitar) and Emily Hensley (piano).  Their performance included a variety of jazz standards with solos by many of the band members.

After lunch, the combo played and sang the Happy Birthday song for Alyssa and it brought a lot of joy and happiness of the beautiful memories we have of Alyssa.  We then went up to the rooftop where Denise Perez-Cabrera, AAFH Executive Secretary, gave a heartfelt blessing before Alyssa’s family and friends released 23 red balloons into the sky.   

Special, erasable lunch bags with crayons were given to the children as a gift and everyone enjoyed Alyssa’s birthday cake and delicious cupcakes.

We thank the volunteers who prepared the wonderful Italian meal and desserts, the musicians, the RMH staff and our guests for coming out to the RMH in Chicago and participating in this special celebration of Alyssa’s life.  The RMH near Lurie’s was and is a special place for the Alvin family. 

Our mission is to continue sharing Alyssa’s love of music and art with as many young patients undergoing treatment to combat life threatening illnesses.  We wish to bring them a bit of Joy and Hope.  This summer, with everyone’s help, we have certainly done just that!