"Thank you to our dear community, who stood behind us throughout this journey, not only once, but both times. You guys made it possible for us to stay with Colby night and day and not worry about other bearings in life. Our family is forever grateful for what each and every person has done. We are so humbled by all the kindness, and honored to call Rutherford County 'home'. Our most important concern is to keep praying for Colby and his complete healing so he can be back to 'normal'. Thank you all!" says Jessi Whiteside, mother of 7 year old cancer patient, Colby Whiteside.
Colby was first diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on August 12, 2015. He started chemotherapy two days later, and after a long battle, won his fight against cancer. However, on October 1st, 2017, the family heard the dreaded news that the cancer had returned. "Colby is currently at Mission Children's Hospital in Asheville, N.C. with his parents, Steven and Jessi, and his little sister, Cora, by his side. He finished up this last round of chemo Friday, November 24th," reported Nikki Rhodes, family friend. "He is doing AWESOME, running the halls and riding his tricycle! He acts as if he's never had any chemo at all! They are waiting for all his levels to come up in hopes he will be home by Christmas! Right now, the plan is for Colby to go to Duke for his bone marrow transplant sometime in January, which will mean the family will reside in Durham for at least 100 days."
IGA Kids, owned and operated by Nancy and Perry Hughes, held a fund raiser for the Whiteside family on Saturday, November the 11th at their facility in Rutherfordton. Raising over $9,000.00, the event was very successful. "People are what's important in this world." said Nancy. "It was our goal to love and serve the people of our community. When we heard that Colby's leukemia had returned, we immediately wanted to do something to help. We knew others would want to help as well." Hughes continued, "The event was awesome! We didn't know what to expect, but we were so blown away by how the community came together to support the Whiteside family. Between the raffle ticket sales, play passes, and the Cartwheel-a-Thon, we were able to raise $9023.50. The gym was a buzz of excitement for the whole day! Our staff donated their time to help run the event and gymnasts and parents helped spread the word to bring in donations! We're so proud to be part of such a giving community of people!"
The outpouring of compassion and support for this young family is a testament to the character of the event organizers, friends, the IGA Kids family, and concerned residents of this community. With the holidays approaching, one would imagine that having Colby home for Christmas would be very important. The acts of love and caring, demonstrated by those whose efforts made it possible, will likely be the best 'gift' of all for the family. If you missed the fund raiser and would like to help this family throughout the remainder of Colby's treatment, you may do so by donating, in the form of cash or check, and put it in the mail to IGA Kids, 340 Industrial Park Road, Rutherfordton, N.C., 28139. Please make the checks payable to Jessi Whiteside. Colby and his family live in the Greenhill community. He is in the 2nd grade at Rutherfordton Elementary School and attends West Point Baptist Church.