Friends and family of Kamryn Lambert, a Pasadena resident who died in 2007 after a three-year battle with leukemia, gathered at the Glen Burnie Outback Steakhouse on Saturday to pay tribute to her on the weekend of what would have been her 13th birthday.
Although these annual luncheons also are a small fundraiser for the Kamryn Lambert Foundation, the charitable organization established in her name, that is not their principal purpose.
According to Debi Katzenberger, executive director of the foundation and Kamryn's grandmother, the events are about coming together each October to celebrate Kamryn's life and her ongoing contributions to her community.
Michelle Piefer, spokeswoman for the Glen Burnie Outback, said she approached the Lambert family in 2008 to offer the restaurant and its staff each October to continue the tribute but also to fund the programs that the foundation created in her memory.
One of these programs is a $500 cheerleading grant presented to the Pasadena Chargers. The grant helps girls continue to participate in the one activity Kamryn did not have to give up during her treatments. This year the grant was used to award scholarships to Jada Smith and Marisa Brown and was presented at Saturday's luncheon.
"We raised over $800 and, as always, the food was great, the service excellent and our family and friends are so appreciative of the opportunity to gather each year for this lunch," said Debi Katzenberger. "Chris Katzenberger, Kamryn's uncle, brings his Chargers football team every year to dine at the luncheon and says that the family is extremely grateful to Michelle and her staff, who volunteer their time to make sure the luncheon is successful."
In addition to the cheerleading grant, the foundation's work includes an annual holiday toy and gift card drive for the patients and families at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children and its Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic, offering scholarships each spring to high school seniors who plan to pursue a degree in nursing and a dance grant to Dancer's Dreams Studio in Pasadena.