When 5-year-old Lydia Boyer was diagnosed with an aggressive, stage IV brain and spinal cancer called medulloblastoma last May, she began a series of surgeries and intensive treatments no parent should ever have to watch their child endure. Lydia, now 6, needs help again, and without the community stepping in, it just might not come in time for her.
For many months it looked like Lydia’s initial treatment was working. In late February, Lydia, with her parents Kayla and Josh, Hope Christian Church’s youth pastor, even got to “ring the bell,” a tradition in oncology units signaling the end of treatment for cancer warriors.
But just days later, Lydia was back at the hospital, rushed by ambulance as she suffered seizure after seizure.
A battery of tests over the next days and weeks confirmed the Boyers’ worst nightmare — new tumor growth. But that wasn’t the worst of it. Recurrent medulloblastoma has no cure.
It was suggested the Boyers move Lydia’s Make A Wish trip up, as soon as possible. She went two weeks ago and had the time of her life. But it was a brief reprieve from her reality.
Kayla and Josh were presented several options. They could take Lydia home for palliative care — treat her symptoms and keep her comfortable. But Kayla and Josh weren’t ready to do that, and Josh is convinced Jesus isn’t ready to call his little girl home just yet.
So they looked into trial studies. Lydia was accepted into a trial at the University of California-San Francisco and researchers want her there next week. This test involves injecting a non-live measles vaccine into the tumor area. The problem is the family’s health insurance is balking. They don’t want to pay for the treatment in California, and an appeal will take too long — Lydia needs to be there as soon as possible.
Social workers have lined up housing for the family of five. But without health insurance, there is no guarantee the study will accept Lydia when she arrives. The Boyers’ best hope is to show up with the cash to cover its cost and pray the researchers let her in.
This is where the community comes in, and they’re coming in a huge way.
The list of businesses offering to donate portions of their proceeds Saturday, March 25 — and beyond in some cases — is growing by the minute. What started as a fundraiser by Chris and Tammy Rahn of Stubborn German Brewing Co. to donate 50 percent of Saturday’s sales has taken on a life of its own.
Visit the Facebook event Small Businesses HOPE for LYDIA and click on the “Discussion” tab for a list of participating businesses. A list of businesses, which is not exhaustive, will follow. You can also look for the sign in the windows of local businesses. A bake sale for Lydia will also take place Saturday at Rural King in Waterloo starting at 9 a.m.
To make a donation directly to the Boyer family, you can do so through GoFundMe, or via a direct donation to House of Neighborly Service at P.O. Box 367, Waterloo IL 62298, or by donating directly through the HNS website.
The Waterloo and Columbia school districts will be collecting donations for Lydia during the week of March 27-31.