Multiple individuals and organizations across Adams County demonstrated their willingness to offer a helping hand last week when news of a local three-year old boy’s struggle against leukemia became known.
Keller Beech Wilson, of Peebles, was diagnosed with acute lympholblastic leukemia (ALL) and admitted into Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati on Wednesday, Jan. 6. By Saturday more than $5,000 had been raised to assist his family with expenses during his month-long stay in the hospital.
Keller is the son of Kyle Wilson and Jennifer Beech, of Peebles. In the coming weeks, months, and years he will be facing chemotherapy, multiple appointments and procedures, medications, and blood draws.
The Peebles Athletic Boosters held a benefit for Keller during Friday night’s Peebles/Ripley basketball game. They raised $1,444. Amy Huffman Swango, President of the Boosters posted on Facebook, “The Boosters wanted to do something to support Keller and his family. The boys ball team did a great job passing the Orange Keller bags through the stands all night collecting all the generous donations from our amazing community,” she added. “We also made a donation from our concession sales. We hope this will help them be able to concentrate on Keller’s healing and not have to worry about the extra expenses that staying away from home can bring.”
Members of the Southern Ohio Beard Society were also present for the Friday benefit, selling their signature T-shirts and hats during the game and donating all proceeds to the #Keller Strong fund. Josh Tolle, President of the Society said, “I feel an incredible urge to help Keller in anyway I can, and I know the community joins me in that effort.” The society plans to continue their #Keller Strong fundraising at future basketball games. They will be donating all the proceeds from their shirt sales to Keller.
The American Legion, Post 594, in Peebles donated $500 to the fund, as did the Peebles Sons of the American Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary. “We have always worked to do things to help community members who encounter unexpected hardship, it’s one of our purposes, to help provide and give back,” said Ladies Auxiliary member, Angie Raynard, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Keller and his family.”
Additionally, a GoFundMe page, “Keller’s Crusade”, has raised $1,355 of its $2,000 goal.
The Peebles United Methodist Church (PUMC) is also sponsoring a Gift Card Drive for the Wilson family through the month of January. According to their Facebook page, “The cards will be used to offset expenses the family will incur during Keller’s stay at Children’s Hospital. Gift cards in any amount can be given to Ben Reed, Jane Williams, Melissa Williams, Cindy Frost, or any member of the church. Gift cards should be for restaurants, gas, shopping, groceries, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Target, or prepaid credit cards.”
Community and family members are planning a #Keller Strong benefit in March, and a “Keller Wilson Benefit” account has been set up at all the First State Bank branches in Adams County.
Anyone wishing to donate may do so at any of the above fundraising drives.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer involving blood and bone marrow. This type of leukemia progresses at a fast rate, creating immature white blood cells called lymphocytes.
According to the Healthline website, ALL strikes about 6,000 people a year. About two thirds of those affected are children. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is the least common type of leukemia in adults.
Although the cause is unknown, ALL is among the most curable cancers, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that there are approximately 1,400 deaths each year in the United States due to ALL. The cure rate is greater in children than in adults.
ALL is the most common form of leukemia in children. The risk of developing this form of cancer is greater in children under age 5. The prognosis for children is better than that of adults. According to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, boys have a slightly higher rate of ALL than girls. About 98-99 percent of children experience complete remission within six weeks of beginning treatment, and about 90 percent are leukemia-free for at least ten years, at which time they are considered to be cured.