Ever since his nephew Landon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Chris March, public safety officer and student at Central Oregon Community College, has not gotten much sleep.
“I try to get up there every weekend,” March said, “I don’t sleep very much. I now get about five to six hours [of sleep] a night. I’m the person who thinks of worst case scenarios. That’s always playing in the back of my mind.”
At the age of three, Landon will have to undergo 41 months of chemotherapy. For the next three and a half years, he will live with a subcutaneous port– a thin, soft plastic tube that is inserted under a patient’s skin in his chest to allow easier infusion of chemotherapy. Landon will also attend countless doctors appointments and the treatment will take an intense physical toll on his body.
“It’s hard to see him laying there with tubes in him, not wanting to do anything,” March said. “A three-year-old should be wanting to get up and move and play.”
Like many families affected by cancer, Landon’s mother had to put her son’s treatment as the primary focus of her life. She moved out of her parent’s home in Central Oregon to Portland to be with Landon on a daily basis. Both March and Landon’s grandparents make frequent trips to Portland to visit Landon when money allows them to travel. Because his mother is raising him alone, all of Landon’s medical bills are covered by the Oregon Health Plan; however, the family’s other expenses must be provided by the family themselves.
To add to the costs of treatment, a family must factor in fuel, food and other expenses the child might need that health insurance does not cover.
Recognizing the rising costs for Landon’s family, Hailey Jorgenson of Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College decided to act. Along with Kurt Killinger and other members of the council, Jorgenson developed “Team Landon,” a non-profit campaign to help Landon’s family. Although it is currently in its conceptual phase, Jorgenson and Killinger have high hopes for the “Team Landon” campaign.
“Budget powers limit what you can do,” Jorgenson said. “[Team Landon] is a community support outreach to let the family know we’re there for them.”
Recent plans for “Team Landon” include beanie sales, movie showings on campus with sales going to benefit local cancer research, and toy drives.
“I’m proud of her,” Killinger said in regards to Jorgenson’s plans.
According to Jorgenson and Killinger, the success of “Team Landon” will ultimately depend on the participation of COCC students and members of the community.
“[Landon is] not the only child suffering this fate,” Killinger said, “But this just hit close to home.”
Students can look for more information on how they can contribute to “Team Landon” in January, the projected date of the campaign’s beginning. For more information regarding how you can help assist the family, contact Hailey Jorgensen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily Frances Kalei