Ann Arbor police officers hold a fundraiser for childhood cancer research Saturday
ANN ARBOR – Two officers from the Ann Arbor Police Department have partnered with Nightcap to host a fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.
For AAPD employees Kabe Jenkins and Shellie Mathis, this topic is deeply personal.
Both have daughters, Charlotte Jenkins and Harper Mathis, who have been diagnosed with cancer in the past two years and whose world has been turned upside down by the unwanted consultations and treatments.
Officials and their families will be on hand for “Charlotte and Harper’s Lemonade Stand” at Nightcap with a Jenkins-built lemonade stand to raise funds – and awareness – for childhood cancer.
The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Online donations are also welcome for those who cannot attend or are reluctant to attend an in-person event.
Kabe Jenkins said he noticed something was wrong with Charlotte in July 2019. When she was 18 months old, she often began to fall and her eyes made sudden, jerky movements. As a precaution, Jenkins took her to the emergency room at CS Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan, where Charlotte underwent test after test for three days.
Charlotte was diagnosed with neuroblastoma shortly before her second birthday. Her surgeon was able to remove the tumor laparoscopically in October 2019.
After the tumor went away, Charlotte still had problems with her strength and coordination, and the irregular eye movements still occurred. She was diagnosed with opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome, an extremely rare disease that can be traced back to neuroblastoma and which required its own treatment.
“She is currently cancer-free,” said Jenkins. “She’s still getting monthly infusions at UM for the OMS, and she will be for a few more years. You don’t know about it until it happens to you – it’s kind of a crash course. Alex’s Lemonade Stand was developed by a girl who, like my daughter, had neuroblastoma. Unfortunately she didn’t make it. “
Harper Mathis was 10 years old in 2020 when she was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. Harper had surgery and radiation to remove the tumor and is now receiving chemotherapy. According to a joint statement by the Jenkins and Mathis families, “she’s holding on and fighting hard to marginalize cancer.”
“Just going to the pediatric oncology floor (at Mott’s) and sitting down for 10 minutes will change your whole perspective on life,” said Jenkins. “I’ve seen a lot of things as a police officer, but seeing what these children and their families are going through makes you suffocate.
“Charlotte did what was to be expected so well. When you have this lucky break, you are basically just grateful and want everyone else to be as lucky as you were. “
You can find more information about the fundraising campaign here.
A night drink is located on 220 S. Main St. in downtown Ann Arbor.
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