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Tuesday, Dec 11 2012 07:58 AM

VFW Post 5948 lends a helping hand

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Former Marine Harry Polenychko graciously accepts a check from Commanding Officer Lou Russo and his fellow Veterans at the end of November. The funds collected in about a week are lovingly given to offset the added expenses of taking Harry and Kirbee Polenychko's 7-year-old daughter, Aroura, to her transplant treatment for her leukemia.

When Harry Polenychko began taking classes at Airstream Renewables and the family's move here, just over a year ago, he did not know all that Tehachapi would mean to his family. Not only did he gain valuable training that has helped him get a job, here at a local wind farm, but it has brought him, his wife and their two children, ages six and two, into a family of generous Veterans at Post 5948.

"My wife Kirbee and I both served in United States Marine Corps for six years," Polenychko said. "And I am really glad that I became a member of such a great group of welcoming men and women."

On July 24, after the Polenychkos' noticed that their six-year-old daughter, Aroura, was a bit sluggish and had a rash, she was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Aroura's treatment calls for Chemotherapy and then a marrow transplant. Finding a perfect match is not an easy process.

"But thanks to the Bone Marrow Registry we have had some luck and found some generous potential donors," Polenychkos said graciously.

Although these matches have "fallen through" Aroura is not left out in the dark.

"We will be taking Aroura up for an umbilical cord cell transplant," Polenychko said. "The doctors don't do this type of transplant down here so we have to take her up to Stanford Children's Hospital."

The expenses to drive up to the Fresno area added up, so William "Bill" Gallagher, fellow Marine Vet and member of VFW Post 5948 decided to set a collection jar out for this Marine family in need.

"In little over a week we were able to collect $290," Gallagher said with pride, adding that they are still collecting.

"Thank you for your support during my family's difficult time. I am happy to still have my military brothers and sisters. And we are blessed to fight cancer with such extraordinary men in our corner. God Bless you all," Polenychko said for the family as Kirbee stayed home with Aroura as the little one's immune system was low that day.

"We are continuing to accept donations to help the Polenychko family here at the VFW," Gallagher said.

In addition, collection containers can be seen around town sporting this beautiful girl's photo.

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