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A child will lead News Kids Day

When Gracie Joyce sets up shop next Tuesday outside Walden Galleria, the 6-year-old Lake View resident will likely be among the youngest newspaper hawkers around.

Gracie, this year's Variety Kids celebrity child, will be a high-profile participant in the 29th annual Buffalo News Kids Day fundraiser. About 3,000 volunteers will be stationed at more than 1,000 locations in Western New York selling Kids Day editions of The News.

Money raised from the sale of the $1 editions will be donated to Women & Children's Hospital, the Robert Warner M.D. Center for Children With Special Needs and Children's Charities of Western New York.

Gracie has a special bond with Women & Children's Hospital. She was born in the West Side facility and has had numerous surgeries there, her mother, Alicia Joyce, told reporters Tuesday.

The Joyce family, including 10-year-old Madalyne, was joined by local dignitaries at a news conference on the steps of City Hall where they highlighted the upcoming fundraiser.

Mayor Byron W. Brown and County Executive Chris Collins wore bright red Kids Day caps as they encouraged people to support the cause. They proclaimed next Tuesday Buffalo News Kids Day in the region.

"Women & Children's Hospital does an amazing job in supporting the needs of children and families in our community," Brown said.

Collins said the annual event showcases the area's spirit of volunteerism.

Variety Kids Telethon producer Steve Podosek called Kids Day a "great 29-year tradition."

"It's one of the most important events and fundraisers for the annual Variety Kids Telethon," Podosek said.

Since 1983, the initiative has raised $3.8 million for local charities.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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