A fundraiser is planned next weekend to help out a Cape Coral family and their infant son.
The Caring for Kellen Fundraiser 2014 will be held June 21 from noon to 6 p.m. at TP Hoolihan's. It will feature fun for the whole family, with the proceeds to benefit Kellen Jeffry and his family.
Kellen was born on Jan. 18. At 9 weeks old, he was hospitalized and diagnosed with a rare kidney disorder called congenital nephrotic syndrome. He has had four surgeries and six blood transfusions, has been on and off a breathing tube and sedation, and is now on hemodialysis four times a week.
"It's just been really hard on the family," Jeannine Poulin, a relative of the family, said.
Kellen has lost all kidney function but cannot be put on the donor transplant list until he meets the weight requirement, which is 22 pounds. The genetic mutation that Kellen has could lead to tumors, so doctors plan to remove his kidneys to prevent any tumors from growing or affecting other organs.
"They're going to be removing them sometime next week," she said Thursday.
Initially treated at the HealthPark Medical Center, Kellen was transferred to the Miami Children's Hospital, where he will remain until he is ready for a transplant - a minimum of a year. Afterward, he will recover at the hospital for six weeks, to later require medication and monthly follow-up visits.
"I just can't imagine going through all of this," Poulin said. "He's only a little over 4 months."
Proceeds from the fundraiser will help cover expenses like the family's medical bills and travel costs.
If You Go
Caring for Kellen Fundraiser 2014
June 21 from noon to 6 p.m.
TP Hoolihan's, 3448 Marinatown Lane, North Fort Myers.
To benefit Cape resident Kellen Jeffry and his family
The event will feature activities including a bounce house, obstacle course, dunk tank and more. The fire department will have a truck on site, and the Lee County Sheriff's Office will fingerprint youths.
"We're going to kind of have fun for everyone," she said.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Earnest Graham will be on hand signing autographs.
"He'll be out at the event to show support," Poulin said.
Several raffles will be held throughout the day, with a variety of prizes available. Some of the raffle items include a pair of diamond earrings, donated by Zak's Jewelry, and a cruise to the Bahamas.
"We have a couple of other trip things," she said.
There is a trip to Key West up from grabs, as well as hog hunting trips with a cabin stay.
"You even get to keep what you catch," she said of the hunting.
Other items are a half-day fishing charter and gift certificates for services and to restaurants.
"We still have things coming in every day," Poulin said.
West of Galway will perform during the fundraiser, along with a few deejays.
Food and drinks will be on site, plus TP Hoolihan's will donate a part of the day's sales.
"A portion of all the proceeds will go back to the event," she said of the restaurant.
Event T-shirts will also be available for sale at the fundraiser.
"Pretty much everything we're doing, all proceeds are going directly to the family," Poulin said.
Asked about the fundraising goal, she explained that they did not set one.
"We're just shooting for the best that we can," Poulin said.
She urged the public to stop by the event.
"This family has been here for over 20 years, so they're been part of this community for a long time," Poulin said. "It would just be a nice thing to do, to come out and support a family in need."
Those who want to help but are unable to attend the fundraiser are welcome to make a monetary donation to the "Kellen Jeffry Benefit Fund" at Fifth Third Bank. Checks made payable to the fund can be mailed to the boy's grandmother, Tina Smith, at 2501 N.W. 14th Place, Cape Coral, FL 33993.
Anyone wishing to donate items for the raffles can contact Poulin at (239) 770-4685.
"We'll take anything up until a couple days before the event," she said.
Kellen's parents are Rob Jeffry and Brittany Young. He has two older siblings.
For more information, visit: www.facebook.com/caringforkellen or contact Jeannine Poulin.
TP Hoolihan's is at 3448 Marinatown Lane in North Fort Myers.