Bowl for Jason’s Friends (Contributed)
CASPER, Wyo — Jason’s Friends Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families of children suffering from cancer, brain or spinal cord tumors, or other serious illnesses. They work to provide financial aid, advocacy and encouragement to the families affected.
The organization was founded in 1996 after Jason Williams Eades was diagnosed with, battled, and died of a brainstem tumor. Jason was only eight years old when he was diagnosed. The Eades family immediately dropped everything and left for Denver, Colorado. Hoping to have the tumor removed, they traveled to New York. He fought a hard battle and underwent many surgeries, radiation sessions, and chemotherapy sessions. In the end, he defeated the tumor, but tragically, he returned. He died eleven months later. The foundation was established in his memory.
After seeing what the family had to go through, the community wanted to make sure that in the future they could help other people struggling with similar problems. The organization wants to support the family financially, so that they can focus on what really matters: their sick child.
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There are no cancer treatment options in Wyoming, so many families have to travel to Denver, Salt Lake, or sometimes even further afield. While they’re gone, the bills don’t hold up. They risk losing their job, their car and even their home. At the same time, they try to pay the doctor’s bills and try not to lose their child. It can be very stressful and difficult to pay for everything. This is where Jason’s Friends steps in. They provide financial assistance for house payments, car payments, medical bills and living expenses wherever treatment takes place.
They only help the people of Wyoming and now help more than 145 families. Those unlucky enough to experience this don’t have to do it alone. Jason’s Friends helps families with sick children up to the age of 21. According to Lisa Eades, mother of Jason and co-founder of the foundation, “We’re here for the long haul.” Whether your child has just been diagnosed or is healing, they want to be there to help.
The organization has three part-time employees and twenty volunteers. Every year they do a big fundraiser called Bowl for Jason’s Friends. Among the many other things they do is a program called Camp Courage. It is the only children’s cancer camp in Wyoming and provides a safe place for children and their families to camp, ride horses, and fish, hopefully adding some light to the children’s lives.
For more information, visit their website at https://www.jasonsfriends.org/about/.