AVON — Gabriella Enourato was only 4 years old and living in New Jersey when a childhood friend was diagnosed with cancer.
“Unfortunately at a young age, she learned what cancer is,” Gabriella Enourato’s father, Dave Enourato said.
Enourato’s family later relocated to Avon and the girl in New Jersey was treated and recovered from the disease. However, the memory of her young friend’s struggle stuck with Gabriella Enourato for years.
In 2012, Gabriella Enourato saw an ad for St. Jude’s Hospital, she worked with the hospital to set up a fund for children with cancer. That holiday season, she gathered her friends to sing Christmas carols around her neighborhood, spreading the word about the fund and raising money for St. Jude’s. They ended up raising $1,500 for children at the hospital.
Because of the success of their first caroling, Gabriella Enourato, 9, and her friends decided to raise money again this year. On Monday, the Avon Heritage Elementary School students spent their second year in a row going door-to-door in her small Avon neighborhood singing holiday songs. At each house, the children handed out Christmas cards listing a website where people could donate money to St. Jude’s hospital.
Despite only caroling for a few hours, preparing for the entire process was no easy feat. Gabriella and her friends skipped recess for two months to practice Christmas songs for Monday night, Dave Enourato said. When Monday came, the children were well received.
“They’re bringing the holiday cheer,” neighbor Mariko Weaver said.
Others enjoyed how the children are bringing the somewhat-forgotten tradition of caroling back to the neighborhood.
“It’s a great cause, and it’s excellent that they’re still getting together and singing carols like the old days,” Dave Swope, another neighbor, said.
Gabriella, whose favorite Christmas song is “Winter Wonderland,” said the most enjoyable part of caroling for her was not just helping out the hospital, but also bringing joy to the neighborhood.
“I like seeing them happy,” she said.
The Enouratos have high hopes for Gabriella’s second year of caroling. In 2012, Gabriella and her friends earned $1,500 for the hospital. This year she hopes to top that, Dave Enourato said.
To donate to the cause, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link to the fund.