OREANA, Illinois (WAND) — The Going for Gold Childhood Cancer Festival fund raised a loud message this weekend: worth more than four.
“It’s not right that kids only get four percent of that funding, we’re going to change that,” said Dustin Guntle, president of Small Town Living (a local nonprofit).
“If we have to organize events like this to raise it to five percent, that’s what we’re going to do — even half a percent. We’re going to do everything we can to raise money for these kids and their voice,” said Tommy Swafford of Jasper’s Journey.
The Swafford family teamed up with the nonprofit to raise money to be sent to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The event was inspired by the passing of Tommy’s son Jasper, who died of leukemia last March at the age of 1.
“We just wanted to do something to make our son proud and do him good,” Swafford said.
“This is all about the Swaffords and Jasper – just to continue with the family – they have a vision, we have a vision for the community and we are going to honor Jasper,” Guntle said.
Dozens of people signed up for the fundraiser to donate blood to the American Red Cross.
“At one point, Jasper’s treatment was — he was getting blood products 4 times a day and he had to have them to keep them going. The chemotherapy just eats up your blood products,” Swafford said.
Cancer took the life of the Swafford’s son and they have seen the same fate befall too many families. The fundraiser was the first of many efforts to change that.
“The 5K t-shirts have 76 son’s name on the back – only 1 of them is alive – that’s 75 families who had to organize a funeral for their baby – who needed to be told there was nothing more we could do,” he said. Swafford.
All money donated to Jasper’s Journey goes towards childhood cancer research. You can support their mission by clicking here.