When parents hear that their child has cancer, that marks the beginning of a horrifying journey filled with anxiety, fear and often significant financial insecurity. This nightmare became a reality in 2013 for the Johnson family when their daughter, Emery, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3.
While a child is battling cancer, it’s common for at least one parent to take a substantial amount of time off work in order to be with their child through treatment. This frequently results in a significant reduction in income. When the Johnson family recalled Emery’s treatment, they noted: “Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation was there for our family from day one. They arranged a hotel room for us so we could be close to our daughter in the hospital, and they even brought a cake to help celebrate Emery’s dad’s birthday during her hospital stay.”
Throughout Emery’s 26 months of treatment, her father, Ethan, the wine club manager at Melville Winery, was able to take the time he needed to be with his daughter. Both Ron and Chad Melville, father and son and the owners of Melville Winery, wanted to help, but did not know how.
Shortly after Emery’s diagnosis, the Johnsons received financial and emotional support from Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. The Melville team was inspired to find a way to support the organization.
Five years later, Melville Winery has dedicated a special half-acre of their vineyard to honor Emery’s journey back to health, by donating 100 percent of the proceeds from each bottle sold of Estate Pinot Noir—Emery’s—to Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.
Fortunately, Emery is now a healthy and happy 7-year-old girl. When asked how she feels about the wine named in her honor, she says, “I’m famous! I feel very lucky to have my name on a bottle of wine and I am happy that it can help other kids who are battling cancer.”
This story was originally published in the Fall 2018 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.