Madison Lewandowski didn’t know how remarkable it was that at age 8-a time when most of us our are spending our creative energy trying to hide from our parents the fact that our vegetables are not eaten, but under our napkin-she decided to sell her toys to help children with cancer. But that is exactly what she did. In 2008 her idea became the impetus for Kidz for a Cure, an event where children are able to sell their toys to raise money for the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.

What makes KFAC unique, said event organizer Leon Lewandowski, is that it puts kids in the driver’s seat. The children sit in their booths, set prices on their toys and games, and negotiate the sales amongst themselves. “They bargain. They haggle,” said Lewandowski, Madison’s father.

Last year, the event was no mere yard sale. It caught the attention of district supervisor Lois Capps, who commended all those involved for their work in the battle to end childhood cancer. After the inspiring success of last year’s Kidz for a Cure, its sophomore effort, which has grown into a veritable festival, is scheduled for May 2, 9 a.m. at the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara (300 W. Pueblo St.)

The day will include fundraising, face painting, a performance by the all-youth band the Newcats, a drawing contest, paper crane folding and an appearance by area philanthropist Larry Crandell. There will also be a silent auction featuring dinner and stays at the Canary Hotel, the Biltmore, Legoland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Disneyland.

Anyone is welcome to make donations before or during the event; organizer Lewandowski encourages folks to bring their gently used toys, DVDs, books etc. to the event and enjoy the festivities.

For more information, call the Cancer Center at 898-2166 or email


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