Alex Sabados Day of Kindness benefits local boy with Leukemia
By Katie Harris
The Berthoud community was struck by tragedy this past week, with the sudden passing of a Berthoud High School (BHS) junior and the news of a cancer prognosis for a Berthoud Elementary fifth-grader, all within 48 hours.
After hearing the devastating news, the organizers of Alex Sabados Day of Kindness immediately sprang into action, coordinating with Grace Place church to organize a second event, a candlelight vigil and lantern release, to follow the Day of Kindness, which had been rescheduled for April 2.
The original event, which benefited Berthoud Elementary kindergartener Jacob Young and his family, was scaled back due to field conditions, but included a competitive 5K, Memory Walk, bicycle raffle, and face painting at BHS. Proceeds from the event were split between Young’s family and Children’s Hospital Colorado pediatric oncology ward.
Suzanne Doles, president of Let’s PLANet Giving, the local nonprofit that has organized Alex Sabados Day of Kindness for the past six years, put a twist on the event this year by including a “kindness wish” for Young.
“In the past all proceeds from the event have gone to Children’s Hospital, but this year we heard about Young, and his struggle with Leukemia, and we knew we wanted to help him make his wish come true.”
Young, who’s never been to an amusement park before, said his wish was to go to Elitch Gardens and to meet his favorite superhero, Batman.
Young’s family has seen its share of hardships over the years, according to his mother, April Lahmann, who has four children, including Jacob, and a stepson, living with her. Four of the children have needed intense medical care throughout their lives, including trips to a neurologist, a sensory processing disorder, and ADHD.
“Not having two incomes has been the hardest part,” said Lahmann. “We rely on my boyfriend for all the bills.” Lahmann said she is unable to work because she never knows what Young’s condition will be from day to day.
“If he gets a fever we have to go to Children’s Hospital because I can’t give him medication,” she said. This week, due to doctor’s appointments and exhaustion, Young was only able to attend two out of five days of kindergarten.
Doles is determined to help the family, not just with making Young’s dream come true, but with everyday necessities like food and gas as well.
“We just want to really spoil them,” said Doles, who has past experience working with Make-A-Wish and breast cancer foundations. “It’s the worst thing you can ever see, a child diagnosed with cancer. You see how this affects the family, the pain they go through, and it just breaks my heart. We’re going to help them in any way we can.”
Despite the cancelation of the motorcycle and dog adoption events, Alex Sabados Day of Kindness saw a good turnout for 2016, in part due to a warm and sunny day. Doles said it looked like the nonprofit would raise enough to accomplish many of its goals for Young and his family, as well as Children’s Hospital, but that her work wasn’t complete yet.
“I’m thinking there has to be a reason we keep having weather get in the way,” said Doles. “Maybe it’s because we have an even bigger purpose with this other family in need as well.”
Doles was able to plan the candlelight vigil on short notice due to a strong outpouring of support from her contacts within the Berthoud community, but hopes to be able to do more. She said her organization is considering rescheduling the motorcycle event with some new events for some time later this spring, possibly to benefit the family of the Berthoud Elementary fifth-grader who was diagnosed with cancer last week.
Those wishing to donate to Young and his family can still do so by contacting Let’s PLANet Giving at 970-203-5884 or online at www.letsplanet.com.
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