Local businesses team up to sponsor fundraiser for Brandtley Francis Foundation

Claudia Loucks
Three local business owners have teamed up to sponsor a unique fundraiser on Saturday, May 8, that features a fashion show, private shopping and viewing of Panoply Design, portraits, and complimentary food and beverages. The business owners are, from left, Kelsey Cherry (Embraced Beauty Photo); Ashley Moore ( Panoply Design Studio); Tricia Hull and Kristen Granell (Made for More Apparel); and Morgan Thurman (MIVA).

Three Geneseo businesses are partnering to benefit the Brantley Francis Foundation and to offer a unique shopping and viewing experience. .

The sponsors, Morgan Thurman of MIVA; Tricia Hull and Kristen Granell of recently-opened Made for More Apparel; Ashley Moore of Panoply Design Studio; and Kelsey Cherry of Embraced Beauty Photo, have planned a fashion show, shopping and viewing of Panoply Design Studio, and portraits with Embraced Beauty Photo, on Saturday, May 8, at Panoply Design Studio, 106 South Oakwood Ave., Geneseo.

The event will be presented from noon to 3 p.m. and again from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets, at $25 each, are available at or by visiting https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fashion-for-a-cause-tickets-149579039935 or at Made for More Apparel or MIVA in downtown Geneseo. A portion of the proceeds from every sale will be given to the Brantley Francis Foundation. Anyone not able to stay at the event for the entire time is sill welcome to attend and leave when necessary.

The Brantley Francis Foundation was founded to positively influence pediatric cancer patients and their families.

Brantley Francis lost his battle with cancer at the age of three, but his parents, Matt and Jeanna Francis, Geneseo, are keeping his memory alive with the Brantley Francis Foundation.

The goal of the Brantley Francis Foundation is to positively influence pediatric cancer patients and their families by sharing Brantley’s story, spreading awareness and raising funds for pediatric cancer research.

Ashley Moore of Panoply Design Studio in Geneseo, explained how the business owners came up with the idea to do an event together “to kick off spring and help to introduce Made for More Apparel to the downtown Geneseo shopping experience.”

“We all have a special place in our heart for the Brantley Francis Foundation, being as we are all ‘mamas’,” she said. “A portion of all proceeds from every sale made that day is going directly back to the Brantley Frances Foundation, even sales specifically made to people who can’t make it to the event, but call out that they want to purchase through the event.”

Brantley’s “battle” began before his birth in 2014 when his parents learned that he had a two vessel cord, a dilated kidney and a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of his heart; he also had a mass at the end of his sacrum.

Mrs. Francis said. “At two days old he was taken to surgery to remove the mass at the end of his sacrum and to give him a colostomy bag. At this point, the mass that was removed was benign. Nothing else needed to be done. Also, while in the NICU at Children’s Hospital in Peoria, Brantley had surgery to put a stint in his kidney to help drain better.”

The issues the infant faced were classified as Currarino Syndrome. His parents worked with a team of doctors throughout the United States to manage their son’s care.

In April of 2015, the family was told their son’s mass was returning…”The mass he was born with was called a Germ Cell Tumor,” Francis said. “Typically, the tumor is removed along with the tailbone to ensure everything is gone, and that is all that is needed. It does not usually grow back.”

Brantley went through surgery a second time to remove the mass and on May 28, 2015, Francis said they were told the mass that was removed had not grown back the same….”It grew back as a cancerous Yolk Sac Tumor,” she said, and explained doctors removed the tumor but by September, it had started growing back.”

“We decided to start chemotherapy,” she said. “Brantley had numerous rounds of chemotherapy and lost his hair in the process.”

Although he underwent more rounds of chemotherapy and additional surgeries, by October of 2017, the cancer had spread to Brantley’s liver and lungs.

“At this point, Brantley had completed eight rounds of chemotherapy and exhausted all surgery options,” Francis said. “He was not responding so we contacted medical professionals in Minnesota, searching for alternative approaches.” Not long after trying the alternative methods, Brantley’s cancer continued to take over his body, his mother said. “By Thanksgiving of 2017, he was in a lot of pain and the cancer was growing and spreading.”

“There was nothing more we could do,” she said. “We brought Brantley home and had him home with us for two weeks before he gained his angel wings.”

“Even though Brantley was only three years old, he impacted so many others with his bravery, strength, compassion, silly personality and most of all his beautiful smile. Not to mention his love for ‘guys’ aka Marvel Avengers and Ninja Turtles,” his parents have posted on the Foundation’s website.

More information about the Brantley Francis Foundation is available at brantleyfrancisfoundation.org