Harlow Phillips’ family members—about 28 people—gather every Sunday at her grandma’s house for dinner.
Harlow loves spending time with her cousins and grandparents, her mom, Melani Phillips, said. The family is tightly knit.
But 4-year-old Harlow has missed many Sunday dinners since September, when she was diagnosed with a Stage 4 neuroblastoma in her abdomen, Melani said.
Her cousin Logan Katzenmeyer, an Evansville High School senior and frequent dinner attendee, was looking for a senior project around the time of Harlow’s cancer diagnosis.
He soon decided to use his project to help his cousin.
Katzenmeyer and his best friend, Kellan Sunness, have organized Harlow’s Princess and Superhero Ball to raise money for her family and help find a cure for neuroblastoma.
The Saturday benefit will offer kid-friendly princess and superhero activities, a dinner, and live and silent auctions. Dinner tickets are sold out, but everyone is welcome to come for the auctions.
Proceeds will be divided between the family and Beat Nb, a neuroblastoma research and awareness organization.
Katzenmeyer and Sunness said they were amazed by how many people supported them during the planning process.
The hardest part was coordinating schedules and finding time to reach out to the community, Sunness said. Once the boys found the time, donations poured in quickly.
Senior projects are a graduation requirement at Evansville High School, said Heather Buttchen, senior graduation project coordinator.
Projects must involve community service or experiential learning, such organizing a community event.
The requirement was added to the curriculum four years ago, Buttchen said. She has become increasingly proud of the work students have done.
“Kids are so much more than a letter grade,” she said.
Melani is grateful for the community support for Harlow. She would not be where she is without her support system, Melani said.
“Count your blessings if you have a healthy child because this is a nightmare,” she said.
Harlow is about 5 months along in her 18-month treatment, Melani said. She received her final round of chemotherapy Wednesday and will receive one of many stem-cell transplants Friday.
Harlow’s mom describes her as a feisty and strong-willed “girly girl,” despite her condition.
Harlow was healthy before the diagnosis, Melani said. She faces a long recovery but one day should return to being a healthy, happy girl.