Benefit in Knowlesville on April 9 will support family of girl, 12, who died from brain tumor

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 22 March 2022 at 9:15 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Ruth Higgins of Medina holds a picture of her granddaughter Olivia, 12, who recently died from an inoperable brain tumor. The Abundant Harvest Methodist Church is holding a benefit for the family on April 9 at the Fellowship Hall in Knowlesville.

KNOWLESVILLE – A fundraising benefit at Abundant Harvest Fellowship will take place as planned for the family of Olivia Black, 12, who passed away March 21 with an inoperable brain tumor.

Olivia is the daughter of Ken Black and Donna Higgins Black of Niagara Falls and the granddaughter of Ruth Higgins of Medina and Daryl Higgins. She had been undergoing chemo and radiation treatments when the church began planning a benefit. Now the church wants to hold the benefit to help the family with medical expenses.

The fundraiser scheduled April 9 will feature a chicken and biscuit dinner, a Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle and other raffles and auctions for big ticket items. These include a shotgun, a party for 16 at 810 Axe Works in Medina and a four-hour fishing charter.

The chicken dinner will be available from 3 to 7 p.m. and will include chicken and biscuits, mashed potatoes, green beans, applesauce, beverage and choice of three desserts – homemade pies, éclair cake or cookies donated by Case-Nic.

Raffle tickets may be purchased any time that day and the drawings will begin at 6 p.m. It is not necessary to be present to win. Dinner tickets are $10 and may be purchased ahead of time. The Fellowship Hall is open on Fridays for anyone wishing to donate a basket, cash or food. Information is available by calling the Fellowship Hall at (585) 798-3173 or (585) 745-0747 or (585) 590-7710. Information is also available on the church’s Facebook page at

During the day of the benefit, Jackie Chinn from Lizzie and Lyric in Medina will be onsite with her Lyncoln Bears and Buddies and accessories to help children build their own bear.

Higgins stressed that every penny taken in during the day will go to Olivia’s family. She said everything has been 100% donated, including the chicken. The Abundant Harvest pie ministry is donating the pies and paying for other food, while the church is donating all the paper products.

Pastor Garry McCaffery said he was happy the church could do this.

“It’s a way for our congregation to show its support for the family,” he said.

Olivia was diagnosed with the tumor on her brain stem in January.

“She wasn’t walking right and was having a tough time chewing,” said her grandmother.

During an interview last week, Higgins said the tumor progressed rapidly and affected Olivia’s ability to move, talk and swallow. She required 24-hour care, including transportation to and from the hospital for daily radiation treatments. She was at home under her mother’s care.

Olivia was a 6th-grader at St. John’s Lutheran School in North Tonawanda.

The committee planning the dinner includes Sylvia Armer, Linda Baker, Miranda Bennett, Teresa Wilkins and Wendy Scharlau. Anyone who wishes to help prepare in advance may join the volunteers at the fellowship hall on April 2.

The committee planning a benefit for the family of Olivia Black includes: standing from left, Sylvia Armer, Miranda Bennett and Linda Baker. Seated are pastor Garry McCaffery and Olivia’s grandmother Ruth Higgins.