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Keep It Tight Fitness: The Dragonfly Foundation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Melissa Matson   
Monday, 30 May 2011 07:12

Keep It Tight Fitness: The Dragonfly Foundation
Our fitness columnist recognizes two local heroines who provide an important service to our community with their family-focused foundation.


Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those who have died in service to our country. This day also is an opportunity to recognize other heroes. With this in mind, I'd like to tell you about two local heroines who live in my community of Mason, OH: Ria Davidson and Christine Neitzke.

 

They are co-founders of The Dragonfly Foundation, an amazing charity that brings comfort and joy to kids and young adults with cancer and blood diseases. They work in partnership with the Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to provide distractions to help ease the pain and fear patients and their families experience on a daily basis.

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My husband and I have had the honor of working with these heroic ladies, and have partnered with them and their foundation. We work alongside them as they pour their hearts and souls into their mission, and we marvel at how quickly they have built a community of caring around patients and their families.

 

I have never met two women more determined, dedicated and SPUNKY! You would be amazed to learn what they have accomplished in an incredibly short period of time. We can only imagine where The Dragonfly Foundation will be a year, two years, even three years from now.

 

All of their work holds a special place in Christine's heart that I pray you or I will never have to visit. In February 2011, Christine's 10-year-old son, Matt, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Hearing about the Neitzke's treatment journey, and how it affected their son, his brother Sam and their family, will make you feel every emotion. Their story makes me count my blessings daily for having healthy children. Though he has to be scanned every three months, we are thankful that Matt is in remission.

 

The Dragonfly Foundation was founded in August 2010 out of pure determination to help comfort kids and their families. Christine and her best friend of 20+ years, Ria, joined forces to make a difference by implementing and enhancing programs, both in and out of the hospital. Their goal is to distract patients and families from their nightmare, and deliver comfort, joy, peace and hope during a time where it feels like there is none.

 

Cincinnati Children's calls their work "truly transformational." One program they have brought to Cincinnati Children's Cancer & Blood Diseases Institute is Beads of Courage®. With this program, patients receive a 3-ft length of string and specific beads for treatment procedures and milestones (i.e., a glow-in-the-dark bead represents a radiation treatment). It is not uncommon for these "necklaces" to become more than 150-ft or more in length. These little beads illustrate stories of strength and courage. The thousands of beads that make up a typical treatment journey are almost too much to contemplate.

 

The Dragonfly Foundation will do almost anything to make to make patients and their families smile. From Play-Doh and toys, to DVDs and video games, to laptop computers with webcams and flat screen televisions for the hospital activity rooms, the list of items provided for patients to enjoy is astounding. They also hold concerts and celebrity meet-and-greet opportunities at the hospital. That's in addition to the tickets to local events they distribute to families because they understand the financial and emotional burden that comes with treatment.

 

What appeals to me is that The Dragonfly Foundation serves kids, teens and young adults and their families. Their support doesn't end with hospital stays, one-time events or 18th birthdays. They make patients and their families smile. Every. Single. Day.

 

Christine and Ria like to say "Until there is a cure, we can't forget to care." They're right. We can't promise that a cure will be around the next corner, but we can provide basic comforts, compassion and opportunities for patients, siblings and caregivers to understand that they are not alone in this world.

 

Cincinnati has two guardian angels in Christine and Ria. I want to add that their husbands, Jim and Matt, and their kids, are right by their sides, supporting and helping at all times!

 

If you are looking for a non-profit to support with your time, talent, resources or connections, then I can honestly say you have found it in The Dragonfly Foundation. Their track record is impressive and their energy is infectious. They have the endorsement of celebrities Nick Lachey, Vanessa Minnillo, Frostee Rucker of the Bengals. They also have supporters in the business community, such as Mark Matson, CEO of Matson Money, Keep It Tight Fitness, Cincinnati Bell/CBTS, The Cincinnati Reds, The E.W. Scripps Co., Feld Entertainment, Peoples First Saving Bank, and more. The list goes on and on.

 

As you know, I am the owner of Keep It Tight Fitness. Fitness is a priority in my life and relates to almost everything I do, but I strive to have overall balance. In addition to being physically fit, I also believe in being fit emotionally and spiritually. For me, that includes helping those in need and donating my money or time to children and families who require help to even make it through the day. I can't think of anything more rewarding and worthy than to offer my endorsement, commitment and support to The Dragonfly Foundation.

 

Please go to www.thedragonflyfoundation.org for more information and follow them on Facebook.

Melissa Matson -

Melissa Matson is Cincy Chic's fitness columnist and the owner of Keep it Tight Fitness. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Last Updated on Monday, 30 May 2011 08:54
 

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