It's hard to know for sure exactly when 8-year-old Ethen Richardson started having headaches.
They came and went for a while and his parents chased the normal things through their doctors. But at some point in July, Ethen started having bouts of nausea. After he got sick – he would be normal.
Todd and Brandy Richardson have four kids, so headaches, stomach viruses, various scrapes and bruises are business as usual for the Mount Pleasant couple.
For Ethen, though, this would turn out differently. Luckily, friends, family and perfect strangers would come out of the wood works to rally behind them.
He was diagnosed with a rare type of tumor in his brainstem that is very aggressive and cannot be removed. Doctors explained to Todd and Brandy that the median survival time for this type of tumor is nine months after diagnosis. This type of tumor affects 150-250 children a year and there is no procedure to operate, nor is there any known way to kill the tumor. Right now the treatment is to slow the growth for a while with radiation and provide comfort care when it returns.
On Saturday, March 29, at the Windjammer on the Isle of Palms, a Hope Jam will be held in Ethan's honor from 7 to 11 p.m.
Weird Science, an 80s cover band will perform. Tickets are $10 and there will be a live and silent auction.
Jeff Bateman, a Charleston Native has been a local musician for more than 25 years.
He lost his father to cancer when he was a senior in high school and his sister in 2007 to brain cancer. He put together a fundraiser to help with his sister's medical bills shortly before she passed. “It was an amazing event that people still talk about today,” he said.
He has organized some other fundraisers, not only for cancer patients, but also for awareness and research. Bateman's goal is to develop an annual event that creates/contributes to an ever-growing fund to help individuals and/or families in times of need.
Thus, he was more than willing to help organize the Team Ethan Hope Jam where his band Weird Science will be headlining.
The coming days
After his diagnosis, Ethen went to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. He took part in an eight-week clinical study that involves radiation and experimental drugs that are designed to attack tumors at the level where cells are reproduced. There were no guarantees from the doctors. His mom, dad, and baby sister went with him for the eight weeks of treatment. His big brother and little brother had to stay behind due to housing rules.
Bateman, Sandra Klein and many other local residents came together to ask the family's permission to host a fundraiser.
“They loved the idea and were on board,” Gnosha Abruzzo said.
“I asked for donations for raffle and auction prizes for the event. It exploded. I was inundated with donations and offers for help. We have since put together an amazing group of selfless women we will call the Team Ethen hope Jam committee. I'm grateful to the Richardson family for sharing their son with us. It has brought us all closer to each other and their devout faith has brought me closer to God,” said Abruzzo.
Sandra Klein, also part of the organizing team said that as a result of the event, a group of Mount Pleasant moms found each other with a common purpose and mission. “Instant friendships were formed in that room during the first planning session. We were surrounded by people with positive energy and selfless spirit.”
Donations for the silent auction will be accepted through Friday, March 21.
Visit www.teamethenhopejam.com to learn more. The website will be used to pre-sell tickets – when pre-sell limit has been reached, they will begin accepting donations.