SKANEATELES | When 5-year-old Anna Biss first found out she needed heart surgery, she had one big question for her parents.
"How are they going to get to my heart?" she asked her mother, Mary Margaret and father, Andrew Biss.
Such an intellectual question for such a little girl but it explains just how much Anna has been able to understand since discovering she would need surgery.
On Oct. 10, Anna Biss will have heart surgery for the third time at the Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester as a way to correct the four heart defects that she was born with.
And with just a few days to go before the surgery, Anna's friends, family and teachers came together to support her and her family on Sunday.
Anna's Banana Extravaganza was an idea created three weeks ago by Mindy Bathgate, one of Anna's Holy Trinity Preschool teachers. Bathgate knew what the Biss family would be dealing with and wanted to find a positive way to offer financial and emotional support to the family, she said.
On Sunday, supporters were welcomed with yellow balloons and signs, a bake sale, multiple raffle donations and fun events for children.
"We all wanted to do something for her and we thought this is just one way that we could help since we can't be there," Bathgate said. "It's a way for us to come together to celebrate Anna and to help out a great family."
Anna relished in her day, calling it a "me party," eating baked goods and participating in the banana split relay and enjoying time with family and friends. The color yellow shone brightly in everything from decorations to baked goods and the bananas were everywhere in honor of the little girl who's often referred to by her teachers as "Anna Banana."
For Anna parents, it was a day to celebrate their daughter and to offer their own thanks to the work put in to help. The support has been overwhelming but they are so thankful to everyone who helped make the day possible, they said.
"She's a special little girl — we call her our miracle baby — and we're so proud to be here today and we're really touched by all these people in our lives," Mary Margaret said. "The first couple of times we had the surgeries Anna was so little and it was more about us and how we were dealing with it but today it's all about Anna.