Paying it Forward in Oldham on Derby Day

Paying it Forward in Oldham on Derby Day

TOURISM NOTE:  This article originally ran in The Oldham Era. Oldham Gardens is an 8.6-acre attraction located at Exit 14 off I-71, consisting of 3rd Turn Brewing, Hive & Barrel Meadery, andBackside Grill.Oldham Gardens is a beautiful beer garden featuring greenhouses, large tables, an indoor taproom, and an outdoor bar with a laid-back atmosphere. It offers 32 taps featuring a mix of beers as well as local and regional selections from 3rd Turn Brewing. Hive and Barrel, Kentucky’s only meadery, maintains a meade tasting bar on-site which typically has 6 meads on tap and 2+ house-crafted mead cocktails. The Backside Grill features creative dishes ranging from beer cheese and pretzels, a hemp dog, their popular smoked pork sandwich or brisket with sides, or the pimento cheese burger. 3rd Turn has hosted several events for Super Drew’s Crew, a non-profit organization which raises money to benefit Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation. Why not participate in their latest fundraiser and turn a good deed into a weekend trip by staying at a nearby B&B, take a Farm Tour, and enjoy all the other many attractions that make Oldham County special!

By Bobbie Curd
The Oldham Era
Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Drew Esposito is now 7 years old, and enjoys doing regular first-grader stuff, his dad, Jeremy, says. He plays soccer, also basketball at the Y …

Caption:  Jeremy Esposito and son Drew hope the community comes out once again this year on Derby Day to support Super Drew’s Crew. Photos from last year’s event show that everyone was ready for a day out, Jeremy says, and came ready to have fun and help support the group. The nonprofit raises money for Norton Children’s Hospital, as well as donates to other organizations in need. The crew also helps individual families out who have children undergoing treatments.

But Drew went through a lot to be able to live a “normal” life, after he was diagnosed with a brain cancer called medulloblastoma at age 4. He endured surgeries, chemotherapy and other treatments to get where he is today.

Drew’s family knows first-hand how incredibly taxing these types of sicknesses are on children and their families. So, they began Super Drew’s Crew, now a nonprofit organization raising money to benefit Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation — a place that helped them so much while Drew was going through it, Jeremy says —  as well as other organizations and families in need of help.

And they ask for the public to come out and support the second annual Super Drew’s Crew Derby Fundraiser on May 7, a chance to have fun, celebrate life and pay it forward to other families in need.

To understand some families’ plights, it’s good to know that the typical cost of brain tumor treatment can range from $50,000 to $700,000, with combinations of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

So Jeremy is thrilled that the nonprofit has been able to raise $120,000 since becoming a 501(c)(3), but he says they definitely want to do more — COVID did create a lull in fundraising.

But they have been able to help individual families with mortgage payments and missed bills, and to contribute to other groups in need, like Kids Cancer Alliance and Bree’s Blessings.

The crew even built a laundry room for 7 West at Norton, which is the Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center. It’s the oncology unit, where kids are undergoing things like bone marrow transplants, causing compromised immunities, and their sheets and clothing need to be washed daily. They’ve been able to pay for the installation of expanded telemetry in every room on the unit, which continuously monitors patients’ vitals, allowing for usage of new therapies like CAR T-cell.

Super Drew’s Crew is even doing smoothie days for the kids on 7 West, so they have something cold to drink during chemo that also gives them nutrition. “When they’re undergoing chemo, the mouth and esophagus get sores and become irritated …” Jeremy says, something they won’t forget about Drew’s time in treatment, among many other details.

He says the crew is very lucky — one of the people on its board is a nursing manager for the floor. “When we started this, she was on the floor when we were there,” and took part in Drew’s treatment; now she can “see the stuff that we can’t, and give great insight to what they need.”

Along with doing things for the kids, Jeremy says paying it forward to hospital staff is also important. “One of our big goals is we like to support nurses, bring in food, things like that. But we haven’t been able to do that because of COVID.”

The crew also organized a toy drive for Christmas, collecting more than 450 for the kids who had to spend their holidays in the hospital. Since Drew was diagnosed on Christmas Eve of 2018, they know how tough it can be.

“Now we’re working to renovate the play room on 7 West,” Jeremy says, where children go to hang out when they’re in-patient. “Since I’m in construction, I try to come up with ideas, like the laundry room. … Now I’m working with local contractors to make a new slide and a fun area for them.”

Super Drew’s Crew has been a wonderful supporter of Norton Children’s Hospital and the Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, with a special focus on making an impact for our patients and families,” said Anne Cannon, director of special events and donor relations for Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation.  “Through the Super Drew Fund at the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation, we have been able to create a laundry room specifically for our families staying with children receiving cancer care, as well as expand our telemetry services.  Super Drew and his crew really do have special super powers, the greatest of which is generosity.”

But to be able to continue this type of work, there has to be some type of funds, so the second annual Super Drew’s Derby Fundraiser is planned for Derby Day in Crestwood. 

“We’re trying to raise at least $50,000,” Jeremy says. The event will once again be held at Oldham Gardens, and will include a special limited bourbon release, silent auction and live music. There will be food and drink, of course, Jeremy says, with a kid-oriented section and lots of family fun.

“It really was a great event last year, we had such a great success with it, it’s become our biggest fundraiser.” A portion of the tickets are tax deductible, as well as all auction items and donations made throughout the night.

“So, it’s a huge space, loads of room to stretch out safely in,” Jeremy says, with food provided by Backside Grill, and rare bourbons and one-of-a-kind items included in the auction. Family-friendly events open from 2-5 p.m., with live music into the evening.

And last year, Jeremy says it was obvious people were ready to get back out after living through the pandemic. But with COVID still a factor, many didn’t want to make the trip to Louisville, he says.

“Since the event space is mostly outside, people felt more comfortable going there. And they really dress up for it, come in Derby attire — and they really go out, because they can stay closer to home. And we’ll have Super Drew signing the special-released bourbon, it’s going to be a blast.”

In addition to the Derby Day fundraiser, a special Sip N’ Sew Fascinator Creator Workshop will be held 5-7 p.m. April 20, at  Oldham Gardens, getting Derby party participants geared up, Jeremy says, to create their own hats. Tickets for that event, the Derby fundraiser and other information can be found at superdrew.org.

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