Community supports local family, creates Pass the Poster for Piper



AVON/AVON LAKE – Pass the Poster for Piper. The name sprung up in Molly Johnson’s head as she spoke. She and her kids recently hosted a lemonade stand to raise funds for Piper Samuels, a 5-year-old Avon Lake girl struggling with the rare bone cancer Ewing’s Sarcoma. The stand’s bright pink posters explaining who Piper is and that all funds will be donated to Ewing Sarcoma Pediatric Cancer are now traveling to other community fundraisers.

The Samuels family — Kari and Kevin, who also have a son Nolan — understandably declined to comment, as they focus their attention on Piper, who was diagnosed one year ago.

A post on the Piper will Crush Cancer Facebook page July 28 stated, “Piper is declining. Her pain is managed but the meds must be adjusted every few days. She is sleeping a lot. Today, hospice installed a hospital bed in our family room because carrying Piper up and down our stairs is now too painful for her to endure. We see less and less of the Piper we know and her famous smile. But every day we get a little time with our spunky girl.”

“So many have sent cards, and food, and gifts! Thank you! The support and gestures help get us through the day. To our Avon Lake neighbors, those pink ribbons are “brutiful” (beautiful, yet brutal). Thank you for showing us your support and love in a very gentle, non-intrusive way,” the post continued, referencing ribbons community members have been hanging around the area.

At her Avon home last week, under the blazing sun shaded by the open garage where a folding table covered in a bright pink cloth was transformed into a lemonade and snack stand, Johnson insisted all the credit for the idea should be given to her three kids: Preston, Channing and Savannah. The three, she said, came up with the idea to raise money in honor of Piper during their daily bible study.

Savannah, in a summery top and purple bow in her hair, sauntered around as her brothers and some neighborhood kids jumped on a trampoline to dunk shots in a basketball hoop in the driveway.

“Our friend has cancer,” she sweetly explained, hopping behind the table to write the family a thoughtful note or prayer — a feature of the stand that’s also been passed along with the posters.

Amber Theodore, owner of Avon’s FMU Fitness, at which Piper (and the whole Samuels family) has taken classes, has fundraised for Piper and other causes in the past.

At the Johnson’s lemonade stand, she asked if she could take the posters when they were done so she could display them at a garage sale she was planning as a fundraiser.

Pass the Poster was born and it likely isn’t going to fizzle out. Online, many of Johnson’s friends were asking when they could use the posters.

The lemonade stand raised $315. The kids counting every last coin, increasing the total excitedly.

On the first day of her garage sale last Thursday, Theodore raised $450.

“We feel like family to them,” she said of her gym and family, as well as the community that has risen to embrace this family.

Johnson agreed.

“It’s really not about us at all,” she said, pointing out that local businesses and families have been showing support all along.

“It’s just such a wonderful thing that the community did.”

SIDEBAR: Donations for Team Piper Will Crush Cancer are being accepted at Those interested in hosting a Pass the Poster for Piper fundraiser should contact FMU Fitness at 216-337-7948.


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