BY CHRIS FASOLINO
---- — TICONDEROGA — A new organization called Riley’s Wishes is dedicated to helping seriously ill children, in memory of a special boy who died of cancer.
Riley Knight of Ticonderoga, said group Treasurer Karen Kelly, “... was a delightful, bright little boy. He loved his New York Yankees, he loved the Food Network, he loved frogs. He loved being Irish, and he loved shamrocks.”
And he had a giving spirit.
“If he went into the store and there was a container there to raise money for something he cared about, that’s where his allowance went.”
Riley would also collect bottles and use the deposit money to benefit causes that he cared for.
“And he was always for the underdog.”
So, it just seemed right to establish a group that would remember him by giving to children who were ill.
“I asked his mother if there was anything I could do,” said Kelly, a founding member of the group. “I’m a retired lady and have the time.”
She lived next door to Riley and was close to him. She deeply affected by his illness and his death nearly three years ago.
He was just 11.
When Riley was ill, friends of his mother, Ann Knight, set up Team Riley, a group with a Facebook page, in order to let everyone know what was going on.
“We wound up with over 1,000 friends,” said Kelly, noting that this provided a basis for Riley’s Wishes, which is also on Facebook.
Now comes the quest to raise money and begin work.
“We had our first fundraiser — a bake sale,” said Kelly.
A 50/50 drawing on Super Bowl Sunday is also planned.
BECOMING A NONPROFIT
She explained that they need to raise money to cover the fees and expenses of obtaining nonprofit status, dealing with bylaws and incorporating. The group wants to incorporate to ensure that its work will continue, regardless of who is involved.
However, the organizers have found the whole process of becoming nonprofit and incorporating vexingly complex and expensive.
“We’ve looked and read on the Internet for this, that and the other thing that you have to do. But you can read all you want; it’s different when you get into the nitty-gritty,” Kelly said.
OFF TO A GOOD START
Once the bureaucratic aspects are dealt with, the group members can turn their attention the main mission, and by the end of the year, they hope to be able to do something special for a child facing terminal illness.
“There are so many worthy causes,” Kelly said. “We don’t want to inundate people, but we hope to get people to be supportive.”
The group members also hope to do something special for Riley’s classmates when they graduates eighth grade and again when when high-school graduation rolls around.
“We want to celebrate his life with a prize for his class,” Kelly said.
Thanks to the bake sale, she said, “I’m opening an account and depositing money. That’s a start.” A start for the group’s mission — showing kindness to children who are ill and making sure Riley Knight is remembered.