A benefit for a St. Clair High School student battling cancer is set for this Friday, Feb. 2.
Last summer, sophomore Dexter Hanley was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Doctors had found a tumor, which they were able to remove successfully. Since then, he has been receiving chemotherapy at Mercy Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. Luckily, the cancer did not spread from his abdomen.
Friday’s benefit, Coaches v. Cancer includes a spaghetti dinner from 4:30-7 p.m. at St. Clair High cafeteria followed by St. Clair girls and boys varsity basketball games in the gym. Any amount of donations will accepted during the dinner.
Chances to win four Cardinal baseball tickets will be available for purchase. The cost is six chances for $5, 13 for $10 or 30 for $20. During the games, there also will be opportunities for people to win 50/50 drawings. T-shirts are also available for $10.
Proceeds from the benefit will be donated to Dexter and his family.
The St. Clair Junior High Lighthouse team members are helping put on the event.
Team member Kaitlyn Janson said she will be maintaining the donation boxes during the event.
“In the middle of the boys varsity game, Dexter is going to go out onto the court, along with one of our Light House members and they’re going to briefly talk about Dexter and his condition, and how you can help,” Janson said.
The Coaches v. Cancer benefits have been done in the past for a former sixth grader, and for the son of a bus driver who had died, according to Junior High Principal Eric Lause.
“We’ve been able to get these families over $5,000 each year, so we’re very happy we’re to be able todo that for them,” Lause said.
“From a principal perspective, it is really neat to see kids go out to community businesses and seek donations.”
He added that he appreciates the support not just from St. Clair community members, but Sullivan residents, as well.
Dexter was referred to as a “miracle child” when he began to recover from an intestine transplant surgery and complications thereafter.
Dexter and his twin brother Logan were born 12 weeks prematurely. Dexter was 2 pounds, 15 ounces and Logan, was just slightly larger at 3 pounds, 4 ounces.
Both boys had major intestinal problems. Logan’s initially were more severe but he recovered from his, whereas Dexter developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), an acquired acute gastrointestinal illness that affects children with low birth weights.
The Hanleys traveled to Omaha, Neb., for Dexter to receive a complete intestinal transplant, a procedure that is only done in three locations in the country, when he was 15 months old.
After two years of living in a hospital, in April 2004, the Hanleys were able to take Dexter home. He started growing and developing normally. He had not had any medical issues since 2006.
In 2005, the Hanley family, including Dexter’s twin brother Logan and 2-year-old sister Reece, were given a trip to Disney World for a week through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Many other family members – Dexter’s aunts, uncles and grandparents – also went on their own and stayed in a nearby hotel.