‘Keep your head up, no negative thoughts, and stay positive'

| 29 Sep 2011 | 10:41

MILFORD - The season of giving continued at Milford’s First Presbyterian Church last Saturday with a spaghetti dinner held for Frankie Navarro, a local 22-year-old who has been suffering from cancer since the age of 16. This kind of fundraiser isn’t anything new for one of its organizers, Nelly Grampp, who has been helping families deal with cancer for a decade. Grampp founded the non-profit organization of “Joey’s Eagles” in 1996 after her son, Joey Grampp, died of cancer. Navarro was a junior in high school when he was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, and has been struggling with it on and off for six years. He has tried various kinds of treatment, including two transplants, all without success. His mother, Roberta Navarro, said he never had a remission but he keeps on going. She credited his positive attitude as the force that got him through all these years. “He is a strong, positive boy … he’s a real fighter,” she said. “You have to keep your head up, no negative thoughts, and stay positive. If your mind is not right, you’re body won’t be either,” said Navarro, who has been without treatment for over a month. He is in search of new treatments by cancer facilities across the country, which was the main intent of the money raised at the dinner. “I stay close to the people who are close to me as much as possible,” he said. Navarro said he was very thankful for all of the support he has received from the community. The entire family has had to cope with Frankie’s illness. His mom affirmed that faith has pulled her through the past couple years. “It has really kept me afloat throughout many trials,” she said. Navarro’s sister Sarah said, “I have a whole different outlook on life because of him.” She participates in two Relay for Life events each year, raising money for the American Cancer Society. “There is a lot of healing that goes with helping others,” said Grampp, who is also a board member for her local Relay for Life. Grampp’s organization helps many families defray financial burdens of treatments for their children. She continued, “I am a mother fulfilling my son’s dream of helping other people.” You can mail tax deductible donations to “Joey’s Eagles,” c/o Nelly Grampp, 77 Lake of the Pines, East Stroudsburg, PA. 18307. Visit joeyseagles.org for more information.