Barb Tuttle

122C

Photo courtesy Heidi Hoover

Eudora News and Information ~ www.eudorareporter.com

Most 11-year-old girls spend their days at school among friends and enjoying after school activities.  They’re thinking about sleepovers and fun family times and maybe even a little about boys.  But Eudora 6th grader Carolyn Hoover, daughter of Ben and Heidi Hoover, spends most of her time at Children’s Mercy Hospital, and her thoughts run to the battle she’s waging against stage 3 T-Cell Lymphoma.

Carolyn was diagnosed with the disease on January 31, and since then has endured having fluid drained off her heart, bone marrow extraction, spinal taps and chemotherapy, all done with only local anesthesia due to the inoperable mass in her chest.  Her dad sat with her during the worst of the procedures and was amazed at how brave his daughter was.

While Carolyn would rather be playing her favorite sport (volleyball) or doing other things that healthy kids enjoy, she stays busy making bracelets for herself and her family on her Rainbow Loom and with little sewing projects.  She loves to spend time with her dogs, one giant black shepherd and one tiny mutt, when she can be at home.  The worst side effects of her treatments are feeling sick and tired all the time, and the trouble she has getting up and down due to nerve damage in her legs from the chemo.  Her brothers are quick to help her get on her feet if she needs it.

Carolyn’s illness and hospitalization have meant a lot of adjustments for the whole family. Carolyn’s three older brothers, Cody (17), Christian (15) and Corey (13) and the dogs have to go to their grandparents in Perry any time Carolyn is hospitalized.  And her dad Ben has had to take many days off work from his job at Tyson in Olathe.  But they’re all in this fight together.

Heidi’s mom said that Carolyn’s attitude has been remarkable.  “She’s been amazing.  You can tell the Lord’s hand has been upon her.  Even the doctors said most adults couldn’t have sat still through all those procedures.”

An extended illness takes a toll on a family financially—there are medical bills plus many other expenses like gas, meals out, etc.  To lend a hand to the Hoover family, marrow-donor-green-ribbonsome members of the community have planned a fundraiser for Carolyn’s family.

No One Fights Alone,” a free benefit for Carolyn, will be held this Saturday, March 15th, from 5:00 to 9:00 pm at the Eudora Recreational Center, 1630 Elm.  There will be all kinds of food and beverages, music and dancing, a bounce house, face painting and a Eudora Fire and Police Department show.  Everyone in the community is invited and encouraged to stop by and show their support for a beautiful little girl who is fighting something no child should have to fight.

One of the organizers of the event, Aaron Thakker, didn’t even know the family when he got involved.  But he has five kids of his own, one a 6th grader with Carolyn, and decided he wanted to do something big to help the family.  He’s been amazed at the generosity of local churches, restaurants, businesses and individuals who have donated toward the fundraiser.  Thakker said that even some businesses from Missouri have helped.  An individual who wishes to remain anonymous donated an iPad so that Carolyn could keep up with her friends and school work while she was hospitalized.

“The amazing thing,” said Thakker “is that no one wants any recognition or anything in return.  They just want to help.”

The Hoovers, too, are touched by the support they’ve received from friends, neighbors and others in the community.  Cards and phone calls are a constant, and many have given them gift cards or money to help with expenses.  They especially appreciate knowing that so many are praying for Carolyn, and their trust for her future is in God.

“We’ve only been in Eudora five years,” Heidi explained, “and a lot of people that I haven’t even met have shown us so much support.”

Eudora is indeed a caring and compassionate community.  Take the opportunity to stop by the Rec Center this Saturday evening and show your support.  You’ll not only get to eat some delicious food and have some fun, you’ll be making a difference in the life of a precious child and her family.  If you can’t make the event but would like to donate, checks can be made out to Ben or Heidi Hoover and mailed to them in care of Barb Tuttle, P.O. Box 584, Eudora, KS.

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