"All we want are prayers for gracious treatment and that at the end of this, it really is over and just a very short chapter in a really long book."
Dara and Josh Reese are facing what every parent hopes to never have to experience.
While traveling before Christmas last year, Dara Reese stopped to change her son's diaper. Two-year-old Jackson's left testicle was swollen and blue, which prompted Reese to take him into the nearest emergency room, where it was dismissed as a bruise.
"It never really got better," Reese said.
She took Jackson to their primary care physician in McPherson after returning from the trip, and tests were ordered for the toddler.
"In the meantime, Jackson started complaining of really bad abdominal pains. He wouldn't walk, he wouldn't eat," Reese said. "After several week of different tests and studies and surgeries, my son was diagnosed with a yolk sac tumor."
A yolk sac tumor, also known as an endodermal sinus tumor, is the most common testicular tumor for children under three years old. It is also known as infantile embryonal carcinoma.
Two days after Jackson's diagnosis of cancer, he underwent a seven-hour surgery.
"They were actually able to remove a good portion, if not the whole tumor," Reese said.
Jackson had a port put in and endured a bone marrow biopsy and spinal tap.
"It was absolutely terrifying," Reese said.
A week later, Jackson was taken to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City for a positron emission tomography scan to see if the cancer had spread.
"Thank God, it was all negative," Reese said. "From there, we met with our doctors and started chemo."
Jackson received his first chemotherapy treatment on Feb. 6 and has not suffered any side effects from the procedure.
"He is such a little stud," Reese said. "All his lab work's coming back good, so far. He's doing very well, all things considered."
Despite everything, Jackson is still able to run around, playing with his little sister, one-year-old Randilyn.
"He loves to build things and bang things," Reese said.
Karsyn's Loving Arms is hosting a fundraiser for Jackson from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 23 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 520 E. Northview Ave. in McPherson. The event can be found on Facebook, entitled "Haulin' Away Cancer-Jackson."
The fundraiser includes a freewill donation baked potato and chili bar, raffle, and bake sale.
A silent auction will also be held for items including two tickets to the practice round of the Masters golf tournament, four passes for golf at Crestview Country Club or Turkey Creek Golf Course, Mary Kay gift baskets, two first-row seats to the University of Kansas vs. University of Oklahoma basketball game on Feb. 27, Fort Hays State University Tigers football 2016 signed team jersey, solid hardwood cutting board, Bill Snyder autographed football, four tickets to a Kansas State University Wildcats football game, a custom set of tooth whitening trays, four Kansas City Royals opening day tickets and a Ducks Unlimited cooler.
"I'm going to be an emotional wreck, but I will be there. We're already so overwhelmed and humbled with the support," Reese said. "All we want are prayers for gracious treatment and that at the end of this, it really is over and just a very short chapter in a really long book."
To donate silent auction items for the fundraiser, call Debbie Myers at 913-908-3342. Monetary donations can be given at Farmers State Bank, 2074 E. Kansas Ave. or 1603 N. Main St. in McPherson.