Coltrane, Grubbs & Whatley, PLLC is hosting “Eating for Evan,” a BBQ fundraiser for Evan Cooke, on Saturday, June 25 at Kernersville Moravian Church from 4-7 p.m. to help raise money for medical expenses as he battles acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
ALL is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many immature lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). ALL may affect red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Signs of childhood ALL include fever, easy bruising or bleeding, petechiae, bone or joint pain, painless lumps, loss of appetite, and others.
Evan, who is 3 ½, was diagnosed with ALL on April 26 of this year.
Evan’s mom, Heather, who is a paralegal for Coltrane, Grubbs & Whatley, PLLC, explained that Evan began complaining about leg pain, which led to his diagnosis.
“He was complaining about leg pain constantly, and after continuous trips to the pediatrician, blood tests showed that his white blood cells were really low,” she said. “Supposedly, leg pain is a regular symptom of leukemia. I never would have thought that.”
Having just received the diagnosis, Heather said they are still in disbelief.
“The doctors have given me so much material to read. I look at it and don’t absorb it because I’m still in shock,” she remarked.
Since his diagnosis, Evan has had several rounds of chemotherapy through ports and spinal injections, as well as oral chemotherapy.
“During the first 28 days, he took oral steroids to fight the cancer,” Heather noted.
Heather said Evan is responding very well to his chemotherapy, noting that he still has his hair and his legs no longer hurt.
“His spirits are great and he’s happy and outgoing. He’s good at taking his medications and going to the hospital,” she said. “I can tell he’s starting to act like his three-year-old self again.”
Heather added that every day, she sees progress with Evan.
“He knows it, and he’s proud of himself,” she remarked. “He’s proud that he is able to take these steps and is looking forward to things he will be able to do when he can fully walk again.”
Heather said Evan first started complaining about pain in his legs, which later led to him not having any use of his legs at all.
While Evan’s spirits are great and his family is optimistic, Heather said it has been hard on all of them.
“There are days when things seem normal and days when it hits you that your son has leukemia and he’s sick,” she said. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster. The first few weeks we were just numb. We stayed at the hospital, and after four-to-five days, we came home and had to go right back because he had a fever and we were back for another 10 days.”
Heather said when they were in the hospital it was astonishing to see the number of children with different types of childhood cancer.
“No parent should ever have to feel this way. In a blink of an eye, everything can change,” she said. “It is a humbling experience to see how many children are there.”
Heather also has a 15-year-old son. She said it’s been hard for him to grasp the concept of Evan being sick.
Heather said Evan is looking forward to getting back to doing the things he enjoys, including riding his bike and battery operated four wheeler, building Legos and blocks, swinging and reading books.
She added that she and her family are humbled by the support of the community as well as Coltrane, Grubbs & Whatley, PLLC.
“The support of our neighbors, family and community has been amazing through all of this,” she said. “We’ve had people we don’t even know donating items to us. We are very grateful and very humbled.”
Since Evan was diagnosed, the medical bills have been piling up, from the big hospital bills to small expenses such as parking in the parking garage and having to grab food to-go while staying at the hospital, to the gas it takes to get from their home to the hospital, which is why Coltrane, Grubbs & Whatley, PLLC wanted to help by hosting the event.
The BBQ dinner will include BBQ, baked beans, slaw, cornbread, hot dogs, tea, water and lemonade, as well as live music.
Tickets for the BBQ dinner are available at Coltrane, Grubbs & Whatley, PLLC, located at 109 East Mountain Street, Suite D in Kernersville. For more information, call 336-996-4166.