During the spring of 2009, Lisa Potiker Morahan’s chief concern was chemotherapy.
Morahan, who was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, also was concerned about making the Easter holiday fun for her son Caden, then 11⁄2.
“It was pretty depressing,” said Morahan, 42, who lives in Stillwater. “I just wanted to be able to do more and I really thought I would be able to make a basket. But I was gifted with three sisters and a sister-in-law and a niece. They just stepped right in and took care of things and helped.”
Morahan knew other men and women in cancer situations might not have had such support. That’s when she began hopping with Project Easter Bunny — which in 2010 delivered 100 baskets to children whose mothers, fathers or other relatives were battling cancer. “Then it went up to 140. Last year it was 190, and I’m thinking we’re maybe going to do 250 this year. That’s my goal.”
Capital Region residents can help Morahan and her group, Floyd Warriors, make the big number by donating Easter candy and toys to several spots around the area. They are: G. Willikers toy store in Saratoga Springs; Bella Rouge cosmetics at Clifton Park Center; the Malta Community Center; Good Morning Breakfast Cafe in Ballston Spa; the Hope Club in Latham and the C.R. Wood Center in Glens Falls Hospital. The YMCA on West Avenue in Saratoga Springs is also on the roster, but not for candy. Only healthy treats will be accepted.
All donations will accepted through Monday.
Morahan checked donations at Bella Rouge earlier this week and liked the large plastic box full of pink and white stuffed animal bunnies, toy airplanes and packages of chocolate eggs.
“Some are for boys, some are for girls,” said Lisa Zibella, who owns the store. “The bunnies are so soft and cute.”
Morahan had just recently started Floyd Warriors — which seeks to link friends, neighbors, co-workers and all available help with families where members have been newly diagnosed with cancer — by the time she received her Easter project inspiration. The group’s name was sparked by the classic rock group Pink Floyd.
“Floyd Warriors derived its name truly from Pink Floyd,” Morahan said. “It’s edgy, contemporary and different, much like the spirits of those we serve. I drew a correlation between the hammers from a scene in ‘The Wall’ to represent hammers that crush cancer, hammers to rebuild and Jesus was a carpenter. With pink being the signature color of breast cancer, it all seemed to work. There are several other little things.”
Morahan, whose cancer is in remission, knows people fighting the disease are going to feel the same way she was feeling in 2009.
“You hope you feel well enough the week of Easter to make a
basket and in reality, depending when your treatment is, it just might not happen,” she said. “It’s an emotionally draining time because you’re not feeling well and then you feel like you’re coming up short as a mother.”
Morahan will buy new baskets through Floyd Warriors’ funds. They will be assembled Saturday, March 23 by about 20 group volunteers. Finished baskets will then be delivered to several area cancer treatment centers, such as the C.R. Wood center, Mollie Wilmot Radiation Oncology Center at Saratoga Hospital, Community Hospice of Saratoga and New York Oncology Hemotology in Albany.
“The real rewarding part for me is when I deliver the baskets,” said Morahan, who graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 1989. “I’m bringing in 30 to 40 baskets, and I leave them. It’s for the nurses to then distribute the baskets. I’m not handing them personally to the patients.”
Morahan said nurses receive an opportunity to present somebody with a basket, rather than presenting a needle for another shot. “I can just see the gratefulness in the eyes of the nurses because they have such a personal connection with the families they are helping,” Morahan said.
While small children get the biggest thrill out of Easter baskets, Morahan also wants to assemble baskets for older kids who might appreciate gifts more appropriate for a teenager — such as gift cards. “Oftentimes, they’re the ones who pick up the slack in the house when mom’s not well,” Morahan said. “They end up doing all the cooking and cleaning. For them to get a nice basket is really a cool thing.”
People who are not associated with a cancer-treatment center but are fighting the disease and would like a basket can contact Morahan through Floyd Warriors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morahan said she includes her biography and words about God in each basket. “A huge part of Floyd Warriors is to share faith, so I’m translating the fact that there is a God,” she said.
Because of cancer, Morahan could only have one biological child. She said Caden proudly says he is now 51⁄2.
“Because of Floyd Warriors, I have a lot of kids,” she said. “I have a lot more than I ever would have had.”