Residents of the BCLUW communities and the surrounding area have the opportunity to give back to a local family that has had their year drastically changed by their granddaughter Lydia's diagnosis of ALL Leukemia in January and the labor of love that has followed in helping her and her family cope.
Dave and Linda Lee, of Conrad, have helped daughter Veridee and her husband Scott Hand get through this year by helping to care for the couple's four other children: Abigail, Josiah, Selah and Charis - the first month after the diagnosis at the Hand's home in South Carolina, and then during the summer in Conrad at grandma and grandpa Lee's home.
Dave was a longtime teacher and coach in the BCLUW Community School system. He retired from coaching softball after the summer of 2012.
Pictured are, from left, Dave Lee, Josiah Hand, Linda Lee and Abigail Hand. A benefit is planned Oct. 27 for Conrad residents, David and Linda Lee’s family as their granddaughter, Lydia battles ALL Leukemia.
The benefit evening will be held Oct. 27 at the BCLUW High School in Conrad. The evening will begin with a free-will supper of hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, baked beans and desserts catered by Hometown Foods from 4:30 to 6 p.m. During the supper a silent auction of various merchandise baskets will be held. Cari Teske, Darci Steckelberg and Shannan Callaway are in charge of organizing the auction.
At 6:30 p.m., a talent show will begin. During the show, several pies and cakes will be auctioned.
The cakes will be made by Denise Rabbit and Mary Stattler, while pies are coming from ISU student McKinzie Geocke, of State Center, and Perkins in Marshalltown.
The ordeal for the Lee family began on Jan. 23 as the Hands headed to the ER in Columbia, S.C., with 7-year-old daughter, Lydia. Something had not been right for a couple of months, but bone pain was now an every night thing, and her abdomen had swollen to the point of nearly getting stretch marks. The next day, the doctors made the diagnosis that Lydia had ALL Leukemia. They would put in a port the next morning and give Lydia her first lumbar chemo treatment.
After the second phase of chemo treatments, the bone marrow extraction revealed Lydia's body was still producing Leukemia cells. In May, the train jumped tracks. The doctors said they had to stop the chemo immediately and flush her body of the chemo. Chemo was not working; therefore, she would have to receive a bone marrow transplant.
The process of recovery was projected to be 45 days, but it soon became apparent that Lydia was not recovering quickly. Soon it became clearer that Abigail and Josiah might not be able to complete the next year of home schooling in a year, due to Lydia's recovery dictating their schooling and the time Veridee would have available to give to the home school lessons.
So once again Dave and Linda opened their hearts and home to the family by asking Veridee and Scott to pray about allowing Abigail and Josiah attend school at BCLUW.
This was a tough decision for the family, but upon returning to see Lydia and seeing the restricted living conditions and the reality of her frailty, the two children understood why grandpa and grandma had made the offer.
Their first day of school was full of energy and excitement, learning locker combinations, meeting new friends, and be one of many in a classroom. After the first week of school Abigail, Josiah, Dave and Linda found a schedule that worked for them. Life had changed drastically for all of them.
Help with the auction and supper is still needed. If you would like to help in any way contact Bob Kruse at 641-366-2402.
Monetary donations to help the Lee family may be sent to Kruse at Box 142, Conrad, Iowa 50621. Checks should be made out to the Dave Lee family.