On Saturday evening, March 4, 2006, every spot in the parking lot of the Moose Lodge in Mount Sinai is filled.

"Welcome to an Evening of Hope and Inspiration for Katie Trebing," read programs on round tables inside the lodge. Lavender balloons -- Katie's favorite color -- float in the room. More than 75 baskets with donated items are ready for raffle.

Friends and family of Stacy and Steve Trebing, wearing "Show Me the Money" buttons, sell chances for a contest to win one vacation to Ireland and another to the Caribbean.

Flower pots with "Katie" painted on them sit on tables, with a picture of Katie sticking out of each one instead of a flower.

The Trebings have let their friends and family put together a fundraiser to help with the expenses in their quest to cure their daughter. With Steve Trebing owning his own business, the couple is better off financially than many families facing a health crisis. Still, the costs are daunting.

Tallying up the cost

To save one of their daughter's ovaries required a payment of $5,000 because the experimental ovarian freezing and storage wasn't covered by insurance. And, with the final tally months away, they have already spent $35,000 for the in vitro fertilization and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to have Christopher.

"This is really, really, really awkward for us," Stacy Trebing had said to her friends and family at their first fundraiser organizational meeting at the end of January, held at Stacy Trebing's sister Alesia Holewinski's home. Stacy's two sisters, Holewinski and Leslie Giordanella, spearheaded the meeting.

"We want to let everyone know Steve and I were first against this because we have a lovely home and a wonderful family. But as things are going by, the money is going. The whole thing is very strange for our family to be asking for outside help."

"People get ruined even with good insurance," Pete McBride told the Trebings that night. McBride was one of Steve's two best men at the Trebings' wedding. He has a good sense of what they are going through, because his son, Jack, has leukemia that required a bone marrow transplant. The McBrides held their own fundraiser a year earlier.

People come because a child needs help, McBride assured the Trebings. If people don't think you should be raising money, they won't come.

One of the first people to arrive at the Moose Lodge is James Stelling, the fertility doctor who extracted Stacy's eggs and implanted Christopher's embryo into Stacy more than 18 months before. Two nurses from Stelling's office come as well. So do friends from Stacy's mother's motor home club, along with college buddies Steve hasn't seen in years, and teachers from Katie's pre-school.

Nearly 400 ticket stubs -- at $50 each -- sell quickly, raising nearly $20,000.

Rob Damers, a teacher living in Holbrook, went to college at the State University of New York at Oswego with Steve and hasn't seen him in four years. He got an invitation from Stacy's sister, who had taken the Trebings' address books and alerted everyone in them.

"I really didn't know you guys were going through all this or I would've been quicker to call," Damers says to Steve Trebing.

Throughout the night, formal programming is interspersed with DJ music. "As you can imagine, my wife and I have a unique perspective on what Steve and Stacy are about to endure," says McBride to the crowd. "To Steve and Stacy, thank you for allowing us to help in Katie's fight. Please know that everyone in this room is praying for you and for our hero, Katie."

Later, after the donated subs, bagels, salad, penne a la vodka and eggplant Parmesan are gone and dessert is set out, members of the Trebing family speak.

Outpouring of love, support

"Thank you very much for your support of our granddaughter," says Rich Trebing, Steve's dad, with tears streaming down his face. His wife, Kathy, stands next to him on stage with a Home Depot apron on to collect money and raffle tickets hanging like garland around her neck.

Stacy's friend Michelle Weinkauf of Lynbrook speaks next: "We have received hundreds of letters. Strangers have gone out of their way to send their donations and their prayers to Katie. We have truly felt the human spirit as it shines big."

Then the Trebings take the stage, Stacy Trebing at the microphone. "Seeing all of you here tonight to support Katie gives us an overwhelming sense of love and security. I can't even begin to express the gratitude we feel."

A slide show of Katie begins, to the music of Butterfly Kisses. "In my daughter's eyes, I am a hero. I am strong and wise, I know no fear . . .," sings Martina McBride, as pictures of Katie playing in the snow with Calvin are interspersed with Katie getting blood transfusions. The Trebing children are tonight home with a babysitter.

Stacy's mom, Pam Olsen, has her arm around Steve's mom. Stacy's dad, Calvin Olsen, hovers nearby. Steve's sister, Nancy, is crying. Even Steve, who has vowed not to break down tonight, is wiping his eyes.

The evening a financial success, the money will help pay for repeated transportation to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, co-pays for drugs and hospitalization, an advanced filter system for the house for the time after Katie comes home and has to be germ-free, and maybe even enough so Katie years from now can have PGD herself when she has her ovary replaced to ensure none of her children is born with Diamond Blackfan anemia.

But it also was a beautiful sendoff as Steve and Stacy enter the most perilous part of their journey to cure Katie.

Latest Videos

DON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access