By Web Master, 2-11-13
||Caption: The Faith family before Valicity was diagnosed with Leukemia. | Courtesy photo
There are a lot of ways to think about princesses. For some, it means wearing flowing dresses and tiaras, and for others, Disney movies come to mind.
For Valicity Faith, being a princess meant being outgoing, magnetic and stronger in her five years than most adults – even the princes, kings and queens.
In 2008, a week before her third birthday, doctors diagnosed Valicity with leukemia. She endured 13 months of chemotherapy in Seattle, after which her cancer was considered in remission.
To celebrate her return to the Flathead, Valicity’s parents, Josh and Candy Faith, organized an informal Princess Ball for family and friends in 2009. Her parents had always considered her a princess, Josh said, so it felt right to have such a theme in her honor.
Unfortunately, the remission didn’t last long. Valicity relapsed on March of 2010, and passed away that following July.
“No parent should have to bury their child,” Josh said in an interview last week. “I don’t understand it to this day and I never will.”
It took the Faith family a while to get back on their feet. Getting out of bed was a challenge at first, he said, but one day, Candy suggested restarting the Princess Ball in Valicity’s memory and as a way to benefit deserving organizations.
Even though Valicity was no longer with them, her personality drove the idea to fruition, Josh said.
“Our daughter had a gift of bringing people together and being very outgoing,” he said.
So in 2011, the Faiths hosted the first official Princess Ball, which allowed participants of all ages to dress up and have fun at various games and events. The ball garnered 400 participants and $15,000 for the Angel Flight West program, a nonprofit that had helped transport the Faiths to and from Seattle for Valicity’s monthly checkups.
The second annual Princess Ball in 2012 saw 640 attendees and more than $24,000 raised for The Montana Hope Project.
This year, Josh said they are hoping for 1,000 participants and raising anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Montana at the third annual Princess Ball, to be held on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kalispell.
“I think I’m going to be blown away,” Josh said. “I’ve got high expectations but I think I’m going to be in shock and awe.”
This year there will be more entertainment, more raffle prizes and more drawings, Josh said, with $30,000 to $40,000 in giveaways.
Some of the major prizes include a Seattle getaway, which includes transportation credit, a catered Seattle Mariners box suite, tickets to the game and lodging; an African safari hunting trip; and a custom-made poker table.
There’s an average of about 100 raffle baskets at the ball, Josh said, and each ranges in price from $200 to $500.
Valicity Faith at the Princess Ball. | Courtesy photo
Naturally, there will also be plenty of princess activities, Josh said, including what he hopes will be 30 hairdressers who will give participants some styling hair starting an hour before the event. There will not be a fee for a hairstyling, he said, but donations are much appreciated.
Josh said he also purchased 50 tiaras and has others being donated, so hopefully there will be enough to give away.
The Faiths picked the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Montana this year because the branch in Seattle housed the family for the 13 months Valicity received chemo. The charity has recently added a room at Kalispell Regional Medical Center, and has other facilities throughout the state.
“It’s a phenomenal organization,” Josh said.
And while the Princess Ball is a good time to enjoy fun and games, Josh said it’s a bittersweet event for his family. The heartache of no longer having Valicity here is tempered by the outpouring of support from the community and the knowledge that their daughter, in her own way, has helped others in need.
“Like I said, my daughter had a gift of bringing people together,” Josh said.
For more information on the Princess Ball and on how to donate, visit www.valicitysonceuponatime.org
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