About $57,000 has been raised to help the family of a toddler with a terminal cancer diagnosis, and others affected by childhood cancer.
4-year-old Tanner Jensen of Reno is blind after doctors diagnosed him with retinoblastoma, or eye cancer, his father Matt Jensen said. Matt said doctors had to remove one of Tanner’s eyes when his son was just about seven weeks old.
“We tried to save the other (eye) through chemotherapy and radiation and several treatments and eventually he had to have the second eye removed, so now, so now he is blind,” Matt said.
Tanner’s second eye was removed at age 2 and a half -- he was fitted with prosthetics to resemble his mother’s eyes. Tanner was finally free of tumors. Tanner continued with life enjoying his favorite activities, like cooking. But Matt said about a month ago his son began experiencing what seemed like growing pains – doctors confirmed the cancer is back.
Tanner’s family has been traveling to San Francisco for treatment.
“He’s a very brave child, and he’s very mellow and cooperative. He doesn’t want to do it. We don’t want to do it, but we all understand that we have to,” Matt said.
But now doctors say there’s nothing more that can be done to save the 4-year-old’s life.
“It’s a certain hell to write your child’s obituary while he rests on your lap, but that hell is answered very well by the support and the love that our friends and the community have shown.”
Friends of the Jensens insisted on stepping in to help the family.
“There’s really nothing we can do to save him, but we wanted to do something that would help this family recover,” Tracy Faulstich said.
A fundraiser Sunday was expected to draw a crowd of about four hundred. The event featured a raffle, auction and games. T-shirt’s with “Tannerisms,” Tanner’s favorite sayings, printed on them were also sold.
“One of the things he said he recently was: ‘I don’t see like other people, I see with my cane, and I see with my hands, and I see with my ears, and sometimes I see with my heart,” Faulstich said.
Faulstich said about $57,000 was raised to help the family. Matt said they want to donate a portion to Angel Kiss, an organization that helps other families of kids suffering from cancer.
Matt said he and his wife want to just spend the remaining time they have with their son peacefully.
The Associated Press reported cancer affects about 166 in every one million American kids.
You can write a check to “The Tanner Jensen Fund” at any Bank of America location.