First and foremost, this project is in the memory of Tae (Diontae Tamar Smith) who passed away in August of this year from Glioblastome. Second is to bring awareness of Glioblastoma, a rare brain tumor disease, which strikes down children at the rate of about 28,000 per year.
"Glioblastoma is a monster that has to be stopped" said Maher adding that the National Cancer Organization only gives 4% to childhood Cancer research.
"Will this effort make a difference in curing childhood Glioblastoma?" we asked. "Can I make a difference with the Tae - Raphael - Glioblastoma project?" restated Jerry Maher, a photographer and volunteer at iHeartOswego.com. "I don't know, but I do know that I just can't sit here and do nothing, nor can I do any of this alone. I need each and every one of you to help me so that we never forget Tae and bring much-needed awareness to Glioblastoma."
Tae loved two things most; Raphael the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and sharks. The Tae-Raphael Turtle embodies both. The response that Maher has received has been overwhelming.
"People have offered to take the Tae-Raphael to Alaska, kayaking, on boating trips, everywhere!" said Maher. Maher is looking to raise awareness wherever he can by sending 'Tae-Raphael' plush toys out to people willing to take him, take pictures with him and send him on to the next location. Denise Dunn, a master seamstress from Valti's in Oswego, created & donated three handmade 'Team Tae' tee shirts (complete with a shark screen printed on the sleeve) to the cause and iHeartOswego donated the first 'Tae-Raphael'.
"To bring awareness for Glioblastoma out past our little community of Oswego, I will be looking for at least two more Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Raphael's. The Raphael's I need are the 24 inch 'Raphael Pillow" said Maher, "then watch this movement really grow!"
If anyone would like to help, please contact iHeartOswego at 193 W. 1st St., in Canal Commons, lower level, Suite 13. To learn more about Glioblastoma, go to www.stjude.org or http://www.abta.org/