Connor Salzman was a typical 20-month old boy up until last month. His mother Jamie said he was a fun kid who would jump on couches and get in trouble. A normal routine checkup on March 4 would lead to a visit at A.I. DuPont Hospital and a devastating diagnosis for the Smyrna family; Connor has stage 3 live cancer – Hepatoblastoma.
Over a month later Connor has had several other tests done and is in the end of his second cycle of chemotherapy. The family has been in and out of the hospital ever since.
"He doesn't understand why he's in the hospital. He doesn't understand what's going on or why he's on so many medications," Jamie said. "He's on blood pressure medicine because his blood pressure is so high. He's on anxiety medication because he's anxious every time someone comes in the room."
Not only is Connor going through intense chemotherapy sessions, but Jamie said he's in physical therapy because he isn't walking.
Soon the doctors will do a reimaging of his liver and decide if Connor's liver has shrunken enough to do a transplant. Jamie said the doctors will likely do two more cycles of chemo prior to the liver transplant and two more cycles after.
Jamie is a match for the liver transplant; however, the doctors need to do some genetic testing since Connor and other family members have had cancer.
"This kind of cancer is rare," Jamie said. "Unfortunately you can never actually be cancer free. He's always going to have a chance it'll come back. We hope it never will."
As most people can imagine, this has all been hard on his parents and family as well. Connor also has an older brother Cameron, who is 10 years old.
"We tell people we're handling this as good as can be expected," Jamie said. "It's nothing you can be prepared for. You just take it day by day."
The Salzman family is getting help from their friends and family in the form of a fundraiser later this month to help offset the expenses.
All the tests, chemotherapy sessions and the transplant cost money. The medications aren't cheap either. Jamie said one medication cost $1,700 for a one-month supply.
This is why her friends and family decided to throw "Connor's Courage Benefit & Fundraiser" on Saturday, April 27 at SportZone.
Connor's Courage Benefit
Rebecca Cowgill is a friend of the Salzmans and even has a daughter about the same age as Connor. As SportZone was a favorite hangout spot for the two families, Cowgill approached the restaurant about a fundraiser and things just took off.
The fundraiser will be a family-friendly event during the day including moon bounces, face painting, live music, and a mechanical bull. Citizens' Hose Company will be on hand for tours of the fire trucks; they've even donated a package in an auction to take kids on a tour of town in a fire truck.
There will be a corn hole tournament, a silent auction, a live auction and then a bachelor auction with 10 men.
"Some of them have written cute bios that are super corny," Cowgill said. "Some will dress in costumes. It'll be hilarious to say the least."
People will have an unlimited number of items to buy in the auctions from sports memorabilia, Phillies game tickets, day spas, and tickets to breweries. Merchandise will also be sold.
The group has gotten a lot of help from the local communities. Cowgill said they haven't paid for anything yet thanks to donations from BK Party Rentals, Alex's Lemonade Stand, Freeze Frame Photobooths and more.
The goal is to raise $30,000 for the Salzman family; they plan to do more fundraisers.
If anyone wants to volunteer or donate, contact Rebecca Cowgill at (443) 480-0315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email Jennifer Dailey at email@example.com.