Fundraiser to aid preschooler facing leukemia treatments

Fundraiser to aid preschooler facing leukemia treatments

CHAMPAIGN — A fundraiser to help a little boy who loves to dance, but now faces four years of treatments for leukemia, will be held May 1.

To help, just buy dumplings or something else to eat from the food truck that will be at Lincoln Square in Urbana for part of the early evening and then head over to downtown Champaign.

The "Dumplings for Davis" fundraiser is being planned to help with the medical treatment costs for 4-year-old Davis McKay, the son of Brian and Courtney McKay of Champaign.

Courtney McKay said Davis has been diagnosed with pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and has begun treatments.

He's in good spirits but misses his friends at the Champaign Early Childhood Center, she said.

"His numbers are great after the first month, but his body, obviously he's lost all his hair, and he has not walked for over three weeks," she said. "That's one of the side effects of the chemo. We're starting physical therapy for that."

Davis is currently undergoing daily chemotherapy treatments at home and weekly chemo treatments at St. Louis Children's Hospital, she said.

"He's kind of timid about walking because he's fallen several times," his mother says.

One thing he misses about school: Dancing to the video played at the end of each school day, McKay says. He absolutely loves it.

"He is a dancing fool," she adds.

Davis, who has a 2-year-old brother, Grant, will be in treatments for four years. Courtney McKay said she and her husband have been told the treatments have over a 90 percent success rate and Davis stands a good chance of being able to put all this behind him after his eighth birthday.

Until then, she says, "it's a long road."

And a pricey one. The family has health insurance, but copayments are $50 a week and there are additional copayments for therapy and other out-of-pocket costs, plus travel back and forth to St. Louis.

McKay said the family tries to make the trips in one day when it's possible, but Davis has to be at the hospital from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and it's exhausting.

Friends and employees of the McKays, who manage Art Mart in Urbana, have stepped in to help.

They hope to raise $2,000 to help the family cover some of the medical and travel expenses by selling food from the Cracked food truck. The menu will include three varieties of dumplings — vegetable, pork and kimchi — plus seafood, homemade pork Banh mi sandwiches, Szechuan-style pickles, homemade kimchi, homemade sesame funnel cakes, punch and tea.

The fundraiser is being run by private chef April Hyon, the catering coordinator at Art Mart for the past two years, and Mark "Shades" Hartstein, the pastry chef at the Common Ground Food Co-Op.

Before taking over management of the shop that was originally acquired by Courtney's mother and aunt in 1963, the McKays were involved in other local businesses. Courtney helped open Bacaro and operated Jennifer North, a local clothing boutique, and Brian was a manager of Prairie Gardens and also has served as a Champaign police officer.

The food truck will be at Lincoln Square from 5-6:30 p.m. May 1, then move to the Champaign City Building, where it will open at 7 p.m. and sell food until it's gone. Prices range from $3 to $5 for food and $2 for beverages.

All proceeds will benefit the family for Davis' expenses, Hyon said.

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texaszet wrote on April 29, 2013 at 8:04 pm

FYI, it's Mark Hartstein (not Harstein)