Babysitter Nicole Swanberg and Justin and Dalton Packard found out about the Festival at the Fields the morning of the event and wanted to take part in the activities held at Willie Green’s Organic Farm.
Babysitter Nicole Swanberg and Justin and Dalton Packard found out about the Festival at the Fields the morning of the event and wanted to take part in the activities held at Willie Green’s Organic Farm.
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Sky Valley community members met in near-winter weather to support local nonprofits and a struggling friend at a rain-soaked family farm on Friday.

Willie Green’s organic farm was the site of the holiday Festival at the Fields on Tualco Road. The benefit was held on behalf of a Monroe High School student who is in treatment for her second bout of Hodgkins Lymphoma, Monroe’s Finally Home Horse Rescue and the Monroe Cold Weather Shelter.

A few hundred people came and went throughout the day. They took part in story time with Mrs. Claus, hayrides, met farm animals and created holiday cards for the homeless.

Volunteer Caitlin Bush said she chose to participate because of Light the World, which is a Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints program held during December every year that promotes helping others.

“I am here because I think serving is the best way to get into the Christmas spirit,” she said.

Bush took advantage of a lull in attendance to create a card for her friend Josie Alldredge. She knows the 16-year-old through church and school, where they competed in the Monroe Elite dance team together.

Alldredge had been sick for several months when she arrived at the Seattle Children’s Hospital at 15. Doctors found her red blood cell count was very low. She was then diagnosed with Stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Her older sister Alex Lioto staffed a booth at the festival’s bazaar inside a defrosted greenhouse with her extended family. Her cousin’s artwork and Lioto’s homemade goods decked the table along with informational materials on her sister’s condition.

The proceeds will go toward paying for her sibling’s medical bills and supporting their family while finances are stretched thin. Lioto also hopes to raise awareness for childhood cancer, which she said is funded significantly less than adult cancers.

The family all lives together on a nearby farm, Lioto said. They cope with the trying situation with humor, she said. They believed Alldredge had no cancer left in March, but more was found this fall.

“It’s honestly been really hard,” she said. “It’s been really hard with what’s going on to even sleep at night.”

Josie Alldredge’s father had the same cancer 18 years ago and fully recovered from it, Lioto said. The family all still believes Alldredge is going to push through. Her current round of treatment will end in February, and depending on how it goes, she may undergo a stem cell transplant.

“Nothing scares you like the feeling that you could potentially lose your sister,” Lioto said.

Monroe-area businesses also donated services and gift packages to be raffled off during the event, Francis said. The Finally Home Farm Rescue provided free lunch. Donations for the meals went to the nonprofit that has operated in Monroe for nearly four years and been licensed for about two of those, said founder Kim Meyer.

She currently has about 15 horses housed at the Strong Tower Equestrian Center on Woods Creek Road. Eventually, the hope is to continue to expand operations. The long-term plan is to be able to take in more horses and get them into good homes, Meyer said.

Francis said the event was the first winter festival hosted at the farm, and the goal was to give “just any help we can do.”

Socks, deodorant, mouthwash and new or gently used pillow cases were requested for the Monroe Cold Weather Shelter, which is in need of donations that will help clients get back on their feet and stay warm this winter, she said.

Click here to donate to Alldredge’s fund.