SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- A San Francisco family stricken with the news of their son's cancer diagnosis have turned the outpouring of support for their child into help for other young cancer survivors.
Two months ago, the parents of 9-year old Dylan Leeder were devastated to learn their 3rd grader had leukemia.
As Dylan went through gut-wrenching treatment, his school and community of friends rushed to the family's side, determined to support them in any way they could. His classmates at Saints Peter and Paul School began planning separate events. Some kids donated their allowance. One little girl cut her ponytail off to donate for chemotherapy patients. Multiple kids did lemonade stands.
"The community wanted to help, as much as I would want to help if my best friend's child came across with a diagnosis like this," said Dylan's father Mike Leeder.
Parents Mike and Sara Leeder are both executives - mom in tech, dad in finance. They were appreciative and overwhelmed; initially declining any money raised on Dylan's behalf as they are well-off financially.
But their community wouldn't give up trying. "No was not an option because we all wanted to do something," said family friend Shelley Lindgren.
"The chemo was so devastating on his muscles that he was unable to move himself in bed from one side of the bed to the other," said Mike Leeder through tears. "That was when I felt I had to do something.
So following the huge outpouring of support, the parents and the school decided to put all that enthusiasm into a big fundraiser for other kids with cancer who do need financial help.
On Thursday, hundreds gathered at the Saints Peter and Paul parking lot for a large carnival, bake sale and lemonade stand to raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand, a national fundraising organization for childhood cancer.
They set a goal to raise $18,000. So far, they have raised over $32,000.
"I feel very happy and I'm glad that they did come out here because then it could help other kids like me who have this cancer," said Dylan.
His doctor says Dylan's prognosis is good. Chemotherapy will continue for months, so he will have to show persistence, a trait his community has shown is not in short supply.
for more features.