NEW BRITAIN - On Saturday, members of the Polish community showed that it really does take a village to raise a child.
Over 30 volunteers and countless guests came to the Quartette Club for a charity picnic to raise money for Dawid Kotarski, a 6-year-old Plainville resident with cerebral palsy.
Dawid’s mother, Anna Kotarska, said the money will go to two more stem cell treatments and an intensive therapy session in Poland.
Dawid and his father, Janusz Kotarski, are going to Poland for the treatment because it is one-fourth of the cost, said Daria Luczkowski, operations and marketing manager at We See You, a nonprofit that helps children in Poland get medical treatment in the U.S. We See You also helped with the picnic for Dawid.
In addition, Luczkowski added, the treatment in Poland runs for the entire day, while in the U.S. it is only done for a few hours at a time.
Kotarska said the stem cell treatment improved Dawid’s condition greatly, and Dawid’s grandfather, Marian Brzoska, agreed.
“He is amazed after the first treatment how much more Dawid can use his hands and sit stable,” said Basia Wnuk, a family friend who was translating for Brzoska.
“He is thankful for everyone who volunteered and organized the picnic for Dawid,” and to everyone who attended, said Brzoska through Wnuk.
Brzoska added that he always tries to step in and help Dawid, like taking a walk with him.
Wnuk said that she herself also helped with the picnic. Her daughter is friends with Dawid and his twin, Bartosz.
“The family themselves has been there for me in a time of need so I wanted to give back and get the community together,” Wnuk said.
She added that the picnic started small and then grew larger.
Grow it did.
Children played on a bounce house and had their faces painted. Two different bands, Windstar and Gypsy Dream, donated their time to play at the event. Volunteers cooked up hot dogs, hamburgers, pierogies and kielbasa. Many entered in raffles with prizes donated from local businesses.
The owners of Polmart, Margaret and Andrzej Mazur, donated the food. Andrzej Mazur also played in the band Gypsy Dream.
“Everyone gave something,” said Kotarska.
“This was a huge collaborate effort,” said Luczkowski.
Joanna Wanke volunteered at the beverage stand because her brother works with Dawid’s father.
“We came to support them because we think it’s a great cause,” Wanke said. “The Polish community comes together to help each other.”
Kotarska said they sold candles in Connecticut and New Jersey last year to raise money for Dawid’s treatment. They also held wine tastings and are planning another wine tasting in the fall.
Kotarska said that while the main goal of the picnic was to raise money for her son, she also wanted to bring awareness to cerebral palsy. When people see that Dawid has cerebral palsy, Kotarska said, they usually think that he can’t speak or do anything.
But that’s wrong. Dawid speaks two languages, English and Polish, his mother said.
In addition, Dawid wants to know everything and asks thousands of questions, Kotarska said. He also cares about others and loves animals, especially dogs and horses.
Kotarska said her family has three service dogs at home. She is on the board of the Forever in My Heart Foundation, which provides service dogs to veterans.
She said if it were up to Dawid, they’d have 100 dogs.
“He always wants to be with animals,” Kotarska said. “They are very gentle to him.”
Michelle Jalbert can be reached at email@example.com.