Fundraiser helps support a 12-year-old sickle cell patient
COLUMBIA — Family, friends and fellow church members attended a car wash fundraiser Saturday at Lucky's Market to benefit 12-year-old Ladarion Kelly, who is battling sickle cell anemia.
Ladarion has been battling sickle cell since birth, but in the last six months his condition has worsened. It started with a case of pneumonia that led to other medical issues. Through his illness, Ladarion's blood count started to drop to dangerous lows. Now he needs a bone marrow transplant.
Because Ladarion's condition is getting so severe, he is taking several medicines to help ease his pain. Ladarion will have to travel to St. Louis to get the bone marrow transplant, and his father has taken an unpaid leave of work to be by his son's side.
The organizer of the event, Jessica Mosely, recognized the family's need and wanted to help.
"Knowing him and his family and his journey that he's endured so far and with a smile the whole way through, I just wanted to know, 'what is it that I can do?'" Mosely said.
Ladarion's father, Derric Kelly, said he is excited to see the community come out and is happy to see his son having fun.
"I've been seeing him go through this his whole life and I've seen so much down, but having him outside the hospital is so refreshing," Kelly said. "It puts a smile on my face knowing that he goes through what he goes through but he's not having to deal with the hospital."
Ladarion was even more excited than his father to be out of the hospital.
"I am out of the hospital and I get to see more family and friends," he said.
If you missed Saturday's car wash, you can still donate to Ladarion's family via their GoFundMe page. The family also regularly updates the page with Ladarion's condition.