Photo: Sandy Gould spent all three days selling raffle tickets during Elburn Days for a fundraiser in honor of her son, Jason (below). He was 36 when he died after batteling leukemia.
Sandy Photo by Sandy Kaczmarski
Courtesy Photo of Jason
by Sandy Kaczmarski
Elburn—With an ambitious goal to raise $35,000, Sandy Gould is getting ready for the 3rd Annual Jason’s Hogfan Party in honor of her son Jason, who died at age 36 after a battle with leukemia.
“This is the main fundraiser,” she said. “We’ll see if we do that or not.”
The fundraiser’s name comes from Jason’s love of the University of Arkansas teams and is set for Saturday, Sept. 10, from 4 to 10 p.m. at the St. Charles Moose Lodge, 2250 W. Route 38.
All of the money goes to support leukemia and lymphoma research, specifically to Ohio State University’s Cancer Research Center to fund the work by Dr. Rob Baiocchi.
“We’ve decided to support his research,” Gould said. “It took a few years to find what the research was doing, and he’s been amazing.”
She said Baiocchi comes to the event each year and gives a progress report on the work. Last year, Dr. Baiocchi took about $2,600 of the money the Hogfan Party raised and added it to a study on brain tumors, she said.
“With that money, researchers were able to complete the study, and nine terminally ill patients given only months to live are all cancer free today with our dollars,” Gould said. “People in the audience were awestruck that their money was actually doing so much good.”
Jason’s struggle began in 2003 when he was diagnosed with acute leukemia. For nearly two years, he was in remission until a relapse in December of 2004.
After a successful stem cell/bone marrow transplant in May 2005, he contracted a rare viral infection, Epstein-Barr, and succumbed in January 2006.
Jason grew up in Elburn in a home on Timbercrest Drive and graduated from Kaneland High School, earning a spot in the National Honor Society. He attended Northern Illinois University, but he switched careers in 2004 and pursued his passion as a fifth-grade teacher in Oswego. He was working on his master’s degree when he relapsed in 2004.
His mother said the vaccine the fundraiser is supporting, for the Epstein-Barr virus, is what finally took his life.
“(The research) is actually in its last stages of clinical trials,” she said. “So in six years, they pretty much have a cure for that type of leukemia.”
Gould said funding for medical research has been dramatically cut and that any type of disease that’s somewhat rare or similar to what her son had, is gone.