In 1974, Hatfield resident Melissa Garvin was much like Lansdale resident Matthew Knoebel.
Garvin, pushing 43, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 3.
Knoebel, 12, a Penndale Middle School seventh-grader, is battling Acute Myeloblastic Leukemia at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"I'm a longtime survivor myself," Garvin said. "I was diagnosed before my fourth birthday. The reason I came was I saw the Patch article. I had to stop by. Cancer doesn't have to beat you."
Garvin was one of more than 80 people that stopped at the Pine Street home of Brad and Kaitlin Horner Saturday for a bake sale and hot choclate fundraiser for Knoebel. Knoebel resides a block away on Poplar Street.
The event was organized by four families in the neighborhood. It was spawned after the success of an impromptu hot chocolate sale last weekend.
"The kids really started it," said Linda Yohe, a co-organizer of the sale. "A couple of weeks ago, the kids put out hot chocolate to sell and raised $40. They said why not give it to Matthew? Between the adults and the kids, we said let's do another hot chocolate sale and raise money."
Those neighborhood youths, some who are friends with Knoebel, included Jacob, Aidan and Logan Mohnke; Riley Peace; Christine Yohe; Chloe Horner; Aidan Horner and Zach Venezia.
Brad Horner said the event "started here and stayed here."
"We had our own PR person on it," Horner joked.
Rochelle Mohnke, another co-organizer, read the original Patch article on Knoebel's fight and began promoting the hot chocolate sale on Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch.
"People started contacting me to donate," she said.
Three tables on the driveway of the Horner's were filled with various cookies, brownies, cake pops, Rice Krispie treats, peanut butter cookies, toffee cookies — and more. There was also hot cider, hot chocolate, tea, iced tea and lemonade.
Wawa donated 150 cups toward the cause, and Acme in Towamencin and Giant in Hatfield donated a $25 gift card each.
Most people throughout the morning and afternoon purchased baked goods and refreshments, but there were those handful of people who stopped just to give $20 or $30 for Knoebel.
"It's amazing," said Knoebel's aunt, Mary Aderman, of Poplar Street in Lansdale, holding back tears. "They don't even know who he is."
"Some stop by crying. They can't talk," said Yohe.
Christine Kohler, of Lansdale, stopped by with her son, Mike, and his friend, Ramzi Qawasmy, to get some hot chocolate.
"We saw the kids all over, and followed the signs. We wanted to stop by and help," said Christine Kohler.
Like Gavin, there were those who came by who know what Knoebel is going through: One woman with Stage 4 breast cancer bought a whole bunch of baked goods for the cause.
"There are people that relate to it," Mohnke said.
By noon, just two hours in, the fundraiser was already considered a huge success. In that amount of time, more than $700 was raised for Knoebel.
"All kids involved will deliver the proceeds to Matthew's mother (Christina Simpson, of Poplar Street)," Yohe said. "This way, they can see where it's going and what we do as a neighborhood. They can use the money for whatever they need it for."
Yohe couldn't believe the generosity of people, especially before Christmas.
"They don't know us. They just want to donate," she said. "It's amazing."
Patty Fleetwood donated toward Knoebel's cause, but in a different way.
Fleetwood is Knoebel's seventh-grade teacher at Penndale. She delivered more than 25 cards made by Knoebel's classmates on the Adventurer Team at the school.
"Our team is organizing fundraisers at the school for Matt," Fleetwood said, who is overseeing the fundraisers with fellow teacher Ed Brun. "Kids can wear hats on the last Friday of every month for a $1 donation. Staff wears jeans for $1 on the last Wednesday of every month. He's on our team and he's ours; Matthew's a fellow Penndale kid."
Garvin, who said she was "pumped full of chemicals and nuked from tip to tail" to battle her leukemia, offered insight on what kept her going through it all at such a young age.
"It really was the family," she said, "the friends."
Donate online at "Let's Help Keep Matt Healthy" on Indiegogo at this link:http://igg.me/p/273535.
To read Matthew’s full story, check out his CaringBrige blog at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/matthewknoebel.