By Colin Dilworth
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
Nine-year-old Honorary Mayor Esther Waller sat with the East Lansing City Council and called the Nov. 6 meeting to order.
“Will the secretary please call the role,” Waller said. “Our next item is approval of the agenda.”
Waller’s appearance as honorary mayor was an opportunity to brighten the young girl’s day while her 5-year-old brother Charlie is seriously ill from “diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma,” an inoperable tumor located in the brain stem.
“This was an important thing for us to showcase to the community,” Mayor Diane Goddeeris said. “We wanted to do a special presentation. Charlie was planning to come with her, but he had taken a turn, and so he wasn’t able to be here. We were worried she wasn’t going to be here, but you saw she was really eager to do it.”
City Council also used Waller’s appearance to promote the “Art for Charlie” event that takes place on Thursday, Nov. 14. “Art for Charlie” is an annual event that raises money for child hospice care in Michigan.
“There’s art from all over the world,” Goddeeris said. “There are some live auction and silent auction items that have been donated, and they can do the silent auction bids or the live auction bids. The money raised goes to help with the hospice care plan for this area. It’s so admirable that this family has started this foundation to do something for all of us. You can’t get any better than someone raising money for children’s hospice care.”
Waller’s grandfather, Richard Graham-Yooll, said the most important aspect is raising awareness of the event.
“They can contribute to the event by coming, by telling their friends, and by spreading the news about the foundation,” Graham-Yooll said. “The foundation, created by Charlie’s parents, is designed to help terminally ill children.”
“Art for Charlie” will take place at the Marriott at University Place from 6-9 p.m.