Fundraiser planned for 6-year-old boy battling leukemia

Published 8:31 am Friday, July 26, 2013

The largest battles facing most six-year-old kids often lie in choosing a breakfast cereal or deciding which cartoon to watch on Saturday mornings.

But Nathan Solomon has been diagnosed with leukemia and is scheduled for a bone marrow transplant on August 8, which is a daunting proposition for any adult, let alone a child.

Fortunately for Solomon, it’s a battle he won’t have to face alone.

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A benefit program is being held for Solomon at the Greenville YMCA on August 10, sponsored primarily by Keith Duke Air Conditioning and Heating and several other businesses within the Camellia City.

“Our goal is to help raise money for housing and medical expenses that the family will have to pay out of pocket,” said event co-coordinator Stephanie Stinson. “He will be in Birmingham several months after the transplant. If everything goes according to plan, he will be hospitalized for at least 30 days after the transplant, but he will have to remain in close proximity of the hospital for follow-up visits and extra chemo sessions for several times a week for at least three to six months.”

It’s during this period that financial burdens begin to accumulate rapidly for families.

Among the gas money necessary to travel back and forth, the lodging expenses and the medical procedures themselves to consider, the process often becomes unmanageable.

Even the more cost-efficient alternatives would be difficult over such a period of time, according to Stinson, but she and several others hope to alleviate those costs however they can.

“Ronald McDonald House is one of the options for housing, and everyone assumes that it’s free, but it isn’t,” Stinson said. “It’s very cheap. It’s $10 a night, but for a family that’s giving up their jobs and their income to be with their son, that’s still a pretty heavy expense for that length of time.”

When word spread of the benefit program, several kind spirits from near and far decided to lend a hand.

Several musical guests comprise an impressively diverse lineup for the program, including local Elvis impersonator Blu Braden, the musical stylings of duet Ben Norman and Vickie Russell, Liberty Church’s band, The Next Level Band, Lifeline Church’s band and more.

There is even a Christian rap group from Atlanta that volunteered to visit after hearing about the occasion.

The program will also feature several activities for attendees of all ages, including inflatable jumping houses, face painting, cakewalks, auctions, raffles and door prizes.

“Our goal was to make it a family fun day so that people had an incentive to bring out their children and learn about leukemia itself aside from supporting the family,” Stinson said.

But most of all, Stinson was pleased to see the community unite for a common cause.

“It’s very heartwarming to know that people still have a sense of community and want to reach out to strangers in their time of need,” Stinson said. “I was very shocked at the feedback and the cooperation that we’ve received not only from businesses, but from individuals throughout the county. And it’s not just Greenville — we’ve had people from Georgiana and McKenzie that have offered their volunteer time, their money, and they’ve started a prayer chain. That’s always very important in a situation like this, so I’ve been extremely touched.”

A bank account has been set up in Solomon’s name at Wood Forest Bank (located in Walmart), and those willing to donate are more than welcome to do so.

For more information on how to contribute, contact Duke at (334) 657-9723 or Stinson at (334) 368-1763.