In Memory of Wish Kid Finn
On May 11th, 2011, Russell and Carey Roessler welcomed their son Finnegan “Finn” Hugh Roessler into this crazy world. A healthy and adorable bundle of joy with ten fingers and ten toes to be loved by a very large family of grandparents, uncles, aunts and many cousins. Little did Finn know that his “family” was going to grow and he was going redefine the word “strong”. At the age of two and a half he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, which formed in his bones. Finn would go through chemotherapy and radiation treatments at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. They also tried experimental chemo and radiation treatments to further his progress. While in treatment, Finn kept busy by playing video games. Some of his favorite are Minecraft, Plant vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, Sky Landers and the LEGO® games. When video games weren’t on the menu, he was watching his favorite cartoons like “Tom and Jerry.” Finn’s health improved and he was granted a wish from Make-A-Wish® in August of 2016. They were sent on a full excursion to the Florida theme parks, SeaWorld and LEGOLAND® where he could forget about his diagnosis and just be a happy smiling kid. One of his favorite parts of the trip was getting to meet some of his favorite characters. The family also traveled over to Daytona so Finn could play on the beach and in the ocean. Upon returning home, he continued to hang with his friends, family and even started preschool at St. James in Sewickley. Finn loved pizza and, just by chance, his Uncle Rob owned a pizza shop (Gianni’s). He would go to the shop and make his own all the time...with a bunch of bacon!
His father Russell heard about our event and knew Finn would love all the cars and possibly riding in them. Wheels, Wings & Wishes 2017 was going to be the family’s first time attending. Finn continued receiving treatments but it started taking a toll on his little body. He was admitted to the hospital and continued to stay “Finn Strong,” even up to the end by giving fist bumps to those that were there the day he lost his fight. Finn Hugh Roessler passed away with his family at his side on June 13th, 2017. In only six years he brought so many people together to show what love and support should look like on a daily basis. Finn’s legacy will live on with the fundraisers that bear his name and help support other children who also have critical illnesses. Always stay “Finn Strong.”
Every year I buy toys to take to the “Finn Strong Toy Drive” which distributes the toys collected to children at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for Christmas. This year there was a special bonus; Jared the Galleria of Jewelry in Robinson Township were selling plush teddy bears which you could purchase and donate back. All the bears donated will be personally delivered to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the Sloan Kettering Cancer City in New York to children fighting critical illnesses.
I personally never got to meet Finn, but I can tell you that we would have got along great. Since his passing I have gotten to know his father Russell and some of his other supporters. It was quite the surprise when they showed up to our 2017 event and presented us with a check for Make-A-Wish in memory of Finn. It was then that I knew we were going to have a connection in helping other kids we may never meet.
Talking to Russell, I learned he is planning on starting a 501(c) in Finn’s honor to help families struggling with bills and other costs during the hospital treatments and traveling. If you would like to keep up on Finn’s fundraisers and other news, please click here for his Facebook page. Thank you for reading and hope to see you all in June!