This story has been updated to correct a phone number for event organizers. Incorrect information was provided to the Telegraph Herald.
LANCASTER, Wis. — An long-term care facility is raising money for the families of two Lancaster children who are undergoing cancer treatment.
The annual Lancaster Care Center Cookout for a Cause, to occur Friday, will raise money to finance medical expenses for Jack Reuter and Palmer Wilson.
Jack, 8, was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia — a cancer of the blood and bone marrow — in February. Doctors discovered lumps throughout his body and a large mass in his chest.
“It’s kind of like your worst nightmare coming to life,” said Jack’s mother, Katie Reuter. “It’s kind of indescribable.”
The boy has been undergoing chemotherapy at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison ever since.
Watching Jack, who has always been a “go, go, go kind of kid” and loves sports, struggle with exhaustion as a result of his treatments has been difficult, Katie said.
Even with good insurance, the cost of medical care and travel expenses “adds up really fast,” Katie said, noting that numerous people and entities stepped forward to lighten the financial load.
Jack has found joy in reciprocating the generosity the community has shown his family.
He helped raise more than $2,000 for the City of Lancaster’s new municipal swimming pool, and now is saving soda tabs to donate to Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Katie hopes Jack’s story raises awareness of childhood cancer. According to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, only 4% of federal funding is dedicated to childhood cancer research.
Jack’s friend, Palmer, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in September 2018. The cancer affects the body’s skeletal muscles, but Palmer has continued to be a “rock star,” said her mother, Megan Wilson.
“She’s your typical 7-year-old girl,” Megan said.
Although she has undergone chemotherapy and 28 radiation treatments, Palmer still is able to do the things she loves, such as playing with Barbie dolls and going outside with her older brothers.
Her treatment is winding down.
“She’s done such as great job through it all,” Megan said. “It’s been a long haul and we’re excited to be nearing the end.”
Friday’s event is the Lancaster Care Center’s fifth cookout. Previous beneficiaries included Gotta Dance Academy of Performing Arts, Lancaster EMS and the Grant County Cancer Coalition.