Chemo ducks comfort kids

Cristo-DePaul, whose organization provides hats to children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments, also works for the New York State Criminal Justice Department. She said she began talking with Mahler about getting donations for the hospital, and the suggestion of Gabe's Chemo Ducks came up, so she went to the Colonie PBA to see if they were willing to help.

"They had a meeting and said, 'We're sending you a check,' and they paid for 18 ducks," she said. "They gave a $500 donation."

She originally had asked for a $250 donation from the organization, but she said she was thrilled to find out her request had been doubled.

"It has never been that much," she said. "All everybody wants to do is help the children. ... I really cried. This is a really big thing."

Cazastas said that when they were approached by Cristo-DePaul for donations for funding, he said it was something he didn't believe the organization could say no to.

"She asked for a certain amount of money, and I spoke with Torrey and we decided to double what she originally asked for," he said. "Both Mike and I felt great and we were able to help out the kids."

Cazastas said he is used to the PBA giving away money to less worthy causes in the past. So when it was presented with the opportunity to help out kids suffering with cancer, he said it was a no-brainer.

"We give away a lot of money for stupid stuff, why not donate money to kids with cancer?" he said. "How could we say no to that. No kid should suffer from cancer."

It is a disease that has most likely touched everyone in some way, Cazastas said, adding that his niece had a scare and he has lost several members of his family to it. He said he sees a relationship with Happy Hats and More, Inc. to continue down the line, as well as with the cancer center.

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