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Driveway dance party returns to honour memory of Calgary 11-year-old

Evelyn Faye Roy’s Epic Birthday Bash is back for a second edition driveway dance party to celebrate what would have been her 13th birthday and raise more money for childhood cancer research.

Evelyn died on February 26, 2020, from neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that produces immature nerve cells in different parts of the body.

Her extended battle has inspired many, including her parents, Heather and Mike Roy. They started an annual driveway dance party fundraiser last year to celebrate her birthday and memory.

Team Evelyn’s fundraising efforts in 2020 raised a total of $90,000 for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“My hope is that by raising money for this program is that we’re one step closer to finding a cure for cancer so that another mom isn’t aching the same way I do to celebrate their child,” Heather said.

This donation funded a portion of the Cancer Research Program and put her name on the donor wall.

Honouring four other families

Heather said Evelyn would often talk about how they were the roots of trees. An analogy based on the connected roots of trees in a forest. If one tree is unhealthy, the other trees care for it.

Team Evelyn has become those roots through their fundraiser, caring for other families and carrying a piece of Evelyn’s spirit and her love of community.

“We’re just ensuring that that people are still loved and cared for and continuously,” Heather said.

“This year we’ve chosen to honour four other families who lost their children to cancer around the same time as Evelyn.”

The four friends of Evelyn’s being honoured this year are: 23-month-old Jake Bottolfs, four-year-old Nicolas Henkel, three-year-old Rowan, and six-year-old Max Schuster.

This years goal is to raise $60,000, to change someone’s story and build a legacy of remembrance and honouring other children who have lost their lives to cancer.


The 2021 #EvsEpicBirthdayBash Celebration

The Roy family has a tradition of dancing anytime there is something to celebrate.

When Evelyn began treatment, it became a way of infusing happiness into a space where there were a lot of tears, Heather said.

“We were blasting music all the time just to ease the tension and bring the joy into our space,” Heather said.

“Silly dances, silly faces and upbeat, fun music. It was just a part of us, inherently built into the fabric of our home. It just seems natural to dance party our way through her birthday.”

Everyone is invited to participate in the Aug. 15 family-friendly celebration at 907 Woodview Crescent SW, from 1 to 5 p.m.

“This is meant for people to come together, build community, do something great in Evelyn’s memory and change the stories of other families in oncology in our city,” Heather said.

Evelyn’s sister, Harper, and her friends will be back with their “Life Gave Us Lemons” lemonade stand. They will accept donations for lemonade.

Lily Crawford (left), Harper Roy (middle), and Hayden Crawford (right) at their Life Gave Us Lemons lemonade stand. SCREENSHOT FROM TEAM EVELYN FOUNDATION’S INSTAGRAM

Guests: New and returning

Some guests will be returning, such as local artists Daniel “Transit22” Bennett, DJ Jonny Williams and YYC Princess party company.

New guests will also be in attendance, such as the Calgary Stampeders’ cheerleading team.

Many local businesses will be in attendance to support Team Evelyn, such as The Sugar Cube mobile candy vendor, Monogram Coffee and Oh Snap Photo Camper.

All the funds raised on-site will be donated directly to the Childhood Cancer Research Program.

“The research they’re doing will change the lives of families dealing with childhood cancers,” Heather said.

The program is doing cutting-edge research, coming up with better and less invasive treatment options with higher cure success rates.

People are welcomed to follow along in the celebration by visiting Heather’s Instagram page or checking out the hashtag #EvsEpicBirthdayBash.

Donations can be made through the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation page for Evelyn’s Epic 13th Birthday.