NEW FAIRFIELD – For local students Rayna Pomeroy and Cora Ruiz, there are no limits on what you can do once you set your mind to it and, although they are young- they are mighty, and looking to make a difference in our world.
Rayna Pomeroy set out with a goal to take something she loves, making slime, and turn it into a fundraising project for something she loves even more – her family. Rayna’s brother, Luke, was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome when he was just a baby. Prader-Willi syndrome is a complex genetic condition that affects many parts of the body. In infancy, this condition is characterized by weak muscle tone (hypotonia), feeding difficulties, poor growth, and delayed development. For the Pomeroy family, it presented a challenge, but one they were up for together as a team. Luke’s two older sisters, Rayna and Samantha often look out for their little brother and try to find new ways they can help him. Though they cannot take away his disease, they can educate the community and fundraise right alongside him.
Like many children her age, Rayna caught on to the thrill of making slime at home. While making it with friends, it sparked an idea to start making slime to sell to friends in order to make money for the Prader-Willi Foundation. “I made up flyers and started selling the slime through friends and it really caught on, “said Ms. Pomeroy, “we even had a very large order for a family friend’s birthday party and that was really cool. They gave the slime away as party favors.”
Ms. Pomeroy’s mother, Youk, specified there have been some precautions in making and selling the slime concoction. “The Borax in the mix needs to be under a certain percentage otherwise it can have adverse skin reactions, so we are very careful to make sure their slime’s Borax percentage is way under. We would hate for anyone to not be able to play with it.” A local shortage in Elmer’s glue has also caused a hiccup in slime production. “Apparently there are so many kids making slime around the country, that we are experiencing a shortage in Elmer’s glue gallons,” laughed Mrs. Pomeroy. Slime aside, the Pomeroy’s are also welcoming donations – at their clients request. “So many people asked us how they can donate (without having to purchase any slime),” she said.
Every year, the Pomeroy family participates in the Prader Willi Foundation Walk and Roll event in Connecticut in order to raise awareness and raise funds for the cause so close to their hearts. As part of their story online, Mrs. Pomeroy writes, “Luke was diagnosed with PWS at 5 months old and our family has been on a roller coaster ride of trying to find out what Prader-Willi Syndrome is, what the diagnosis means for Luke and his future, and what we can do to help him. He has seen more doctors in his eight years than the rest of our family combined, has dealt with multiple medical issues resulting from his diagnosis, and yet remained a sweet love bug through it all. Please consider donating to Team Luke so we can help find a cure for him and the thousands of kids like him.” Donations can be made in Luke’s name by visiting the Prader Willi Foundation Families United Crowdrise website at https://www.crowdrise.com/team-luke2.
Cora Ruiz, a freshman at New Fairfield High School, is thinking globally to help fellow women find comfort in their daily lives. “I saw a video called the Tampon Pact’ and it really got me thinking about the issues worldwide women face when it comes to their menstrual cycle,” explained Ms. Ruiz, “there are health issues and also the dignity issue that comes with not having sanitary products available. This happens globally, but then I realized it is also happening right here in Connecticut, too.”
Through her work with the school’s Peace Project, Ms. Ruiz founded The Monthly Mission, a call to collect feminine products to help women in need. “So you wake up with your period.. Great. I mean you probably should of seen it coming with all of the random back and stomach pains, mood swings, cravings and breakouts. You’re somewhat irritated that you can’t wear that adorable pair of light wash jeans that you bought specifically for today, and opt for a pair of darker leggings. After taking a long shower you raid the bathroom cabinet and grab a fistful of pads or tampons. You stuff 3 in your backpack, one in your period emergency case, and one up your sleeve… just in case. Try to finish up the week with as little hiccups as possible. Sure, the bloating is embarrassing and the cravings tend to make a cheat day into a cheat week and a half, but it’s workable. Cramps are managed as quickly as they began with Midol or Advil. But what if it wasn’t that easy? What if every single month you were faced with the decision of a few days worth of food and basic necessities, or a single box of tampons and pads. Now factor in sleep deprivation and malnutrition which heightens cramping, headaches, fatigue and overall pain and discomfort. With little to no access to bathrooms, it’s impossible to stay clean,” explains Ms. Ruiz, “This is not simply a ‘poverty issue’. This is a health issue, this is a social issue, this is an issue that can only be corrected as community.” Ms. Ruiz plans to hold collection drives throughout New Fairfield to help local shelters in the Danbury and New Haven areas.
As of March 9, following March 8th’s International Women’s Day, Ms. Ruiz excitedly announced The Monthly Mission had raised over $200 with the help of the NFHS Peace Project. To find out more about The Monthly Mission, like Ms. Ruiz’s page on Facebook “The Monthly Mission” where Ms. Ruiz writes updates on the cause, where and how to help, and where to find donation bins around town like the newly installed donation bin at the New Fairfield High School Nurse’s office.
Whether it is finding passion within their family, their local neighbors, or in an inspiring message or cause – both women serve as an inspiration to our community. They reflect our true nature to answer the call to help wherever possible and to make a difference in our world. “Sometimes it seems funny because we are young to be thinking about such big things, “says Ms. Ruiz, “but maybe it will inspire other kids our age to thing about big things, too. It’s just about finding something you are passionate about.”
By Kate Mattiace