ELIZABETHTOWN — One local family is putting their life on hold for the next month, and the community is planning to support them.
Earlier this month at a routine checkup, Kelsey Cox and Jacobe Higgs were told that medical personnel were concerned about a mass in their 7-month-old son J.T.’s abdomen. J.T. was sent to Lumberton for an ultrasound, where doctors discovered his kidneys were enlarged and suspected cancer.
The family was referred to Duke Medical Center, and their worst fears were confirmed — leukemia. Chemotherapy at Duke has already begun, and the family’s plans for the next month include nothing but Duke Hospital and baby J.T.
“As far as I know, neither one of them (the parents) have left to come home,” said friend of the family Courtney Dorsett. “They both have stayed by his side and plan to stay there for at least a month from what I’ve been told.”
Cox and Higgs work at Pizza Palace in Bladenboro and Pawn South, respectively. Adding to the already astronomic medical expenses are the costs of staying and eating in Durham until J.T.’s treatment is complete. When combined with the loss of income for at least one month, finances became such a concern that friends decided to step in.
“We just wanted to do what we could to help,” said Dorsett.
Dorsett and friends decided to hold a benefit motorcycle ride, which will take place Saturday, Oct. 8, at the National Guard Armory in Elizabethtown. Registration for bikers will take place from 9 to 10:45 a.m. with kickstands going up at 11 a.m.
Cost for participation is $20 for single riders and $25 for double riders and includes a meal of Boston butt, baked beans, slaw, cake, bread, and beverage. Plates will also be on sale to the general public for $7.
Trophies will be awarded for best in bike, best female biker, and best male biker.
After the ride, a bounce house will be set up for children to play, and a $5 wristband allows admission to the playhouse.
T-shirts, $15, are available for pre-ordering until Friday, Sept. 30, and will be available the day of the event for purchase.
Dorsett said that a 50/50 drawing, raffle, auction, door prizes, and a cake walk will also raise money, and include items such as a $300 basket of hair care items from an employee of JD’s Salon, a necklace from Fowler Jewelry, a Scentsy basket, and gift cards.
“We’re having our first meeting tonight (Friday), so we’ll have more information about prizes after we get together, but we should have some good stuff,” Dorsett said.
To pre-order a T-shirt, for more information, or to help in any way, call Christie Merritt at 910-874-6720, Courtney Dorsett at 910-759-9099, Elvis Blackmon at 910-973-1227, or Polly Guy Smith at 910-874-1161.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.