The scene on a warm November evening in St. Cloud was truly surreal. If one was passing by 11th street, they might have been a bit confused as to what month it is – particularly at the sight of a large group of dressed up teenagers outside of the Venue at Cobblestone with pop music blaring from inside. Or perhaps from the numerous emergency vehicles representing Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Osceola County Fire Rescue, and St. Cloud Fire Rescue parked alongside Massachusetts Avenue. Either way, if one was to ask anyone in attendance what this is all about – the answer was simple – it was Nate’s “Night to Remember” homecoming dance.
Nathaniel Kimbro is a 13-year-old St. Cloud resident who is battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer – Rhabdomyosarcoma. And while his mother works hard to find him the right treatment plan, his friends and family have rallied together to help Nathaniel – or Nate, as he is known to those close to him – to make the best memories and participate in all of the activities that a kid his age normally would.
And so came about a community plan – not only to decorate Nate’s home for the holidays but also to give him a homecoming party and ensure that despite the difficulties that lie ahead with further treatment, he gets to dance and enjoy himself among his peers on a special night. Dubbed – “A Night to Remember”, it was also a fundraiser to help with the ever-growing costs of Nate’s treatment. All those who attended were encouraged to give what they could into a special vase with all of the proceeds begin donated to Samantha Ciraldo, Nate’s mother.
The hostess and key organizer of the event, Angie Redman – she is the owner of the Venue at Cobblestone – is also the mother of Nate’s date to the homecoming dance – Kaydynce Redman. She reached out to the local community for support in making the night extra memorable for Nate.
“We have decided, since he promised my daughter Kaydynce to take her to Homecoming when they were in 9th grade, that we were going to go and have a homecoming now, just in case because the news we got was not good,” said Angie Redman. “Tonight we are celebrating him, how strong he is and what an amazing warrior he is.”
One particular community group that immediately jumped at the chance to make the evening even more special was the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. They brought out a dozen vehicles to the Venue and lined them up to create an alley of lights leading up to the entrance where Major Jacob Ruiz presented Nate with a special package from the Sheriff’s Office. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office also provided a motorcycle escort from Nate’s home to the Venue at Cobblestone on 11th Street.
“He’s a special kid going through some difficult times and we want to show that we honor him and we support him,” said Major Jacob Ruiz from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. “Not just our agency, the Fire Departments are here as well – the whole community is behind it and we want to show our love and support.”
Nate was arriving in style – in a convertible Chevrolet Corvette driven by his date to the dance – Kaydynce, closely followed by a caravan of heavy trucks filled with friends and family. Dozens of Nate’s friends were already gathered at the entrance of the large open bay doors into the venue. As the Corvette pulled up to the red carpet for the grand entrance, cheers erupted from the crowd. With the help of his mother and close friends, Nate emerged from the car gently waving to the crowd and started to move his way inside where the flowing music beats by Mr. P’s DJ Service were setting the stage for a grand party.
“It’s amazing that people like our community come together,” said Kaydynce Redman. “They make sure that Nate is having the best time of his life.”
His mother Samantha Ciraldo, echoed that sentiment by saying that this kind of event means everything to her.
“When a kid gets cancer, it’s not just the mom and the family fighting – we need the help of everybody, the support of everybody – whether it’s prayers, gifts, donations – anything and everything helps us,” said Ciraldo. “I’m just thankful that he gets to have a night that is about him and about his friends.”
As for Nate himself, he said that pulling up and seeing all of the people who showed up to support him was the most memorable part of the night. Nate said he would be thinking about how much he enjoyed the night as he would go to bed that night. He explained that he was overwhelmed with feelings but it could all be summed up in one word.
“Excited,” said Nate Kimbro.