To Lori Schneider, Penelope Ruderman is more than just a daughter -- she’s a warrior.
Ruderman was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, when she was only 3 years old. In 2011, she received a successful bone marrow transplant that helped put her into remission. Penelople, now 7, is still in remission today.
“The way I look at it, she’s a survivor,” Schneider said. “Once someone is diagnosed with cancer, they become warriors, they’re always fighting, and they’ll be fighting for the rest of their lives.”
In 2011, Ruderman’s family founded the nonprofit Penelope’s Odyssey, dedicated to helping children with pediatric cancer. The Sea Cliff-based organization works in partnership with a bone marrow donor center DKMS.
On Friday, Penelope’s Odyssey will be holding a bone marrow drive at the Still Partners Bar and Grill in Sea Cliff in honor of Pediatric Awareness Month, which runs throughout September. The event starts at 8:30 p.m. and will feature food and live music from band Kris Rice & Co. Penelope’s father, Matt Ruderman, plays bass in the band.
Since its inception, Penelope’s Odyssey has provided service to around 100 children, and continues to expand its program development and events with bone marrow drives scheduled throughout the year.
“We’re so lucky we were able to find a match. We should all be donors if it means we can save a life,” Schneider said. “This is bigger than Penelope now -- it’s representation for all children who are fighting pediatric cancer.”
For more information on Penelope’s Odyssey, visit www.penelopesodyssey.org.