COLON, Mich. — When Keeley Boal took her 2-year-old son Landon to the hospital a few months ago, she knew something was “off” she said. He was born with Down Syndrome and was a happy-go-lucky kid, always running around. However, one day he stopped walking.
“We had been in and out of the hospital, in and out of his pediatrician’s office and everyone was kind of like it’s a viral infection,” she said via Facebook video chat, holding Landon on her lap. “Nothing got better. He eventually stopped eating and drinking.”
Then Landon got even more sick, she said. This time with an ear infection. So she took him back to the hospital.
“They re-ordered blood work and still nothing showed the signs of Leukemia,” Keeley said. “I had an inkling of that’s what it was.”
She was right. Soon after he was diagnosed with leukemia and they were immediately sent to the Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor for chemotherapy and treatment.
“Emotional, it’s been a rollercoaster,” Keeley said. “First couple days it was very hard to kind of accept the information.”
As a mom, she went into “fight-mode” she said, staying strong for Landon and her family. Meanwhile the community in her hometown of Colon rallied around them.
“They are an amazing family,” said Kelly Hostetler, executive director of the St. Joseph County United Way. “He has been in the hospital more than he deserves to be.”
Hostetler said she first learned about Landon and his journey three weeks ago when an attorney called her late one Sunday night to see if the family can be beneficiaries of the United Way’s Family Catastrophic Fund. Two days later they were approved.
“The family gets 100 percent of the proceeds,” Hostetler said during an interview at the United Way office on main Street. “It’s much like a GoFundMe, only it’s more local.”
Lately she and Kim Wirgau, owner of Magic Moves where Keeley works, has been planning an event to raise money for the family called Love for Landon. Hostetler said the fun begins at 8 a.m. at Keeley and Landon’s dad’s alma mater, Colon High School. They’ve got a bake sale planned along with face painting, dancing, 400 yard dashes, Piyo & Turbo workouts among other activities.
“The coolest thing ever is a photo booth,” she said. “You can get your picture taken in a photo booth with little signs that say ‘Go Landon’ and ‘I love you Landon.’”
Keeley said the family will be in Ann Arbor but they’re going to try to make the event. Nonetheless, she’s grateful for all the support.
“We’ve gotten text messages and we’ve gotten so many cards with gifts,” Keeley said. “This community has just rallied around him to make sure that he has everything that he needs.”
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