CINCINNATI — For the second year in a row, Goettafest’s game tent is supporting The Dragonfly Foundation’s mission to help kids, and their families, who are fighting cancer.
“People have been stopping us every night saying ‘Tell me more, how do I get involved? How can I help?’" said Caroline DeGroft, Dragonfly’s community relations manager. “We are really grateful to Glier’s Goetta for spreading all the awareness about Dragonfly and raising all this money for us.”
Christine Neitzke founded Dragonfly after dealing with her own son’s cancer battle.
“Christine is incredible, a force to be reckoned with,” DeGroft said. “Her ‘momma heart’ is what I really think drives Dragonfly. She knows where these parents are sitting, she knows how these families feel.“
The main way Dragonfly staff support the families is with their trademark blue bag. It’s already in the hospital room when the families arrive on that first day. The bag has toiletries and other supplies, along with a special notebook that helps parents keep track of appointments and treatments for their children.
“We’re trying to really take away that first stresser, of ‘Oh gosh, we’re in the hospital, my child has cancer, I’m not prepared to be here for a week, a month, a year,’ so our hope is that the bag can be a little bit of relief,” DeGroft said.
DeGroft said Dragonfly staff and volunteers also organize trips to the zoo and Cincinnati Reds games for families who can get away. She has been helping since she was a junior in college and landed an internship with the nonprofit. After graduating from the University of Dayton in 2021, she moved to Atlanta to take a corporate job - but she wasn’t happy.
“My heart just wasn’t in it and since high school I’ve always said, ‘I don’t care what I do, I just want to love what I do,'" she said. "And I wasn’t loving what I was doing. It wasn’t fulfilling."
She quit and moved back to Cincinnati and contacted her old friends at Dragonfly. She was soon back on the team, with a full-time job.
“I knew that I would always be supported and encouraged by my coworkers, by the community and that I would also be continuously fulfilled and making an impact on this world,” DeGroft said. “That’s really all that I can ask for in a job.”