Community Rallies for Derby Mom Battling Cancer

The wish of a Derby mother battling breast cancer is coming true. Soon Jodi Chevarella, 44, will be given the chance to make some lasting memories with her children and her husband, thanks to help from her community and beyond.

Every memory counts, Chevarella said. Now her community is making sure she will get to make some unforgettable ones with her family in the months ahead. That starts with some fundraising - several musical acts and a big crowd of people attended 'A Night To Remember' event in Derby on Saturday evening.

"Let's go and get four or five bands and have two, three hundred people show up and make a bunch of money," said Mark Searles, who helped organize the event.

Proceeds from the event will go to a non-profit called Treasured Time. The organization is granting a wish for the Chevarellas - and other parents with life-threatening illnesses who want to create a lasting memory with their children.

"For us the biggest thing is just helping them to create a memory that those children will have for the rest of their lives," said Suzanne Major, Founder and CEO of Treasured Time.

Treasured Time started three years ago when Major set out to help a friend who was struggling with melanoma. The family’s 8-year-old son was also fighting cancer. Major said she wanted to do something positive for that friend and the rest of his family.

“They needed a break, they needed to get away, they needed to not think about what was going on,” Major said.

It was with that sentiment that Treasured Time was born. The organization is volunteer based and runs off donations. They raise funds in a variety of ways – everything from corporate sponsorships to events to collecting donations in front of stores. Currently the organization works with each family to decide what experience will mean the most to them, then works on gathering funding to make it happen.

“We’d like to be more proactive, which would require larger sponsorship – corporate sponsors would be great – but to be able to have all the funds, to be able to distribute in advance would be wonderful. That’s our goal,” said Kelly Donohue, part of the Treasured Time marketing team.

The non-profit just signed on its 17th family. Some families have already received their wish, and some, like the Chevarellas are enjoying the community support while Treasured Time volunteers put everything together.

Chevarella recently found out she and her family will spend their 'treasured time' on an all-expenses paid cruise this summer. After all the chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries, she is excited to have a chance to make some lasting memories with her husband and kids.

"With our busy schedules and lives, being able to have this kind of vacation really is really special treat for us," she said.

The Chevarellas do not yet know which cruise destination they will select. The family plans to travel late this summer.

To donate or to learn more about Treasured Time, visit

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