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 From left, Wesley, Evelyn, Lucy and Henry Kruszyna stand with St. Clair Shores Police Officer Todd Bing, who came to support a fundraiser they held Jan. 3 for Kruszynas’ cousin, Gabriel Crowe.

From left, Wesley, Evelyn, Lucy and Henry Kruszyna stand with St. Clair Shores Police Officer Todd Bing, who came to support a fundraiser they held Jan. 3 for Kruszynas’ cousin, Gabriel Crowe.

Photo provided by Nicole Kruszyna


St. Clair Shores children raise more than $1,000 for their ‘superhero’

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published January 14, 2020

ST. CLAIR SHORES — In October of 2018, when he was less than a year old, Gabriel Crowe, of Harrison Township, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

For the past year and a half, the little boy has been undergoing procedures in the fight for his life, loved and supported by his family and friends, including four of his cousins — the Kruszynas, of St. Clair Shores.

“Gabe is super special,” said 5-year-old Evelyn Kruszyna.

Now Gabriel is leaving in a few weeks on a trip to Florida, part of a wish trip from the Rainbow Connection, which just threw him a “giant” second birthday party.

He’ll be visiting Walt Disney World and the Give the Kids the World Village.

His cousins — 8-year-old Henry, 7-year-old Lucy, 5-year-old Evelyn and 3-year-old Wesley Kruszyna — remembered that they enjoyed having a little spending money to buy treats when they went to Florida, so they wanted to send their little cousin with some pocket money of his own.

“I thought $40,” Henry said. “We wanted him to have candy.”

So on the last Friday of Christmas vacation, Lucy and Henry were talking about the bracelets that Lucy likes to make with tiny rubber bands.

“I wanted to sell them,” she said.

“I was like, we should sell them to raise money for Gabe,” Henry chimed in.

Henry made a giant poster, and Lucy got to work creating 28 bracelets, 4 necklaces, 9 chokers and 11 rings. Lucy said she can make a bracelet in less than five minutes and the rings come together even quicker.

When the children approached their mother — Nicole Kruszyna — with the idea to sell the jewelry to raise money for their cousin, she was skeptical because winter isn’t typically a great time for a child’s roadside stand. She put a post about her children’s efforts online so that a few friends and neighbors might see what the kids were doing.

But between a beautiful day and the power of social media, so many more people than they expected turned out to support the cause.

News spread fast, and the Kruszyna siblings’ sale was so successful that Lucy had to work quickly to make more bracelets, about 50 in total, and a school friend of Henry’s came by to donate a bag of bracelets she had made, as well.

They even ended up sharing their story on TV. Between sales and straight donations, the siblings raised nearly $1,300 for their cousin Jan. 3.

“Four police officers came, a news person, friends came, teachers,” Henry said.

Nicole Kruszyna said that her sister-in-law thought that the extra money could be used for an extra excursion during the trip.

“We were all very blown away,” Nicole Kruszyna said. “It was very amazing.”

Many people also donated to Gabriel’s GoFundMe account at gofundme.com/f/gifts-for-gabriel.

Gabriel had his third relapse around Thanksgiving, Nicole Kruszyna said, and he is now receiving treatment to make him comfortable. His parents, she said, have created a bucket list of things they want their little boy to experience in his time with them.

They’re trying to “focus on living,” Nicole Kruszyna said. “They’ve spent his whole life in the hospital.”

Henry, Lucy, Evelyn and Wesley said their little cousin is “cute” and loves to play with balls.

“He’s very generous with his smiles and hugs,” Nicole Kruszyna said. “When you see him, you have no idea the battle he’s fighting inside his little body.

“He’s our little superhero.”

To follow Gabriel’s story or donate, look for Gabriel’s Gladiators on Facebook.