Fundraiser for cancer-stricken Saugerties tot

jared-andrews-SQThe holiday season is a time for giving, and on Sunday, Dec. 21, there will be an opportunity to help brighten the holidays for one local family. A fundraiser to benefit Jared Andrews, a two-year-old boy who recently underwent life-saving surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, will be held at the Kiwanis Ice Arena beginning at 4 p.m. It will include an ice skating show by the Saugerties Skating School, a buffet dinner, raffles and a bake sale.

Jared’s aunt, Olivia Andrews, calls him a “tough little man” who loves Thomas the Tank Engine and playing outside.

His struggles began in the summer when he went to the emergency room complaining of severe stomach pain. There, the family learned that the pain was caused by a tumor the size of a grapefruit, which extended from his liver to his heart. After a biopsy, it was found that Jared had pediatric hepatoblastoma, a form of cancer that affects one in a million children.

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Jared began receiving chemotherapy treatments, which took a toll on his tiny body. Due to his weight loss, he had to receive a feeding tube. Over the course of the next few months, he traveled to Boston Children’s Hospital, where he underwent a 12-hour surgery that removed part of his liver and the tumor from his heart. According to his aunt, “he still has a long road to recovery but everything seems to look great so far.” Jared is still receiving chemotherapy weekly.

His family, who learned of his diagnosis just three weeks after the passing of an aunt at the age of 38, also due to cancer, has taken a financial hit, having to miss work and travel to care for him.

“We’re just hoping to bless this family with whatever we can a few days before Christmas,” said Nikki Rogers, a friend of the family who has organized several fundraisers, including one at Michael’s Farm in November and a number of bake sales at Noah’s Ark Nursery School.

“Your everyday bills do not wait for cancer,” said Rogers. “They pile up as you sit by your child’s side during treatments and surgeries, which are not always fully covered by insurance programs. They pile up as you travel far and wide in search of better options. They pile up as one or both parents miss work or leave their jobs. These parents just want time to stop so they can be there for their child.”

Tickets cost $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 3-12, and under age three are admitted free. Tickets are available at Saugerties Skating School and Noah’s Ark Nursery School. More info is at (845) 247-2590 or www.kiwanisicearena.com or www.saugertiesskatingschool.com. Donations can also be made at the family’s Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/savejaredandrews.