Friday, October 31, 2014

Ailing baby’s plight inspires Wellsville fundraising effort

By CRYSTAL HERBER, Herald Staff Writer | 10/10/2012

WELLSVILLE — Can a garage sale help save a life? A local woman hopes to find out.

Darci Hahn, Wellsville, has planned a garage and bake sale for Oct. 20 to raise money for the Matney family. Addison Matney, 13 months, Gardner, recently was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer that can metastasize to other areas of the body.

WELLSVILLE — Can a garage sale help save a life? A local woman hopes to find out.

Darci Hahn, Wellsville, has planned a garage and bake sale for Oct. 20 to raise money for the Matney family. Addison Matney, 13 months, Gardner, recently was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer that can metastasize to other areas of the body.

“I’m just looking to help the family however we can, no matter how much it is,” Hahn, a close friend of the family, said. “I just feel like this is what I can do to help,”

The sale is expected to start at about 7 a.m. at 4740 K-68 in Wellsville, near the intersection of K-68 and K-33.

Donations for the sale are slowly coming in, Hahn said, and she expects it to be large. People from all over have offered items to put into the garage sale, she said, which is expected to include children’s toys, clothes and furniture, various appliances, an entertainment center and home goods. The bake sale is expected to offer various tasty treats, including lots of homemade cinnamon rolls, she said.

All proceeds from the garage and bake sales will go to help defray Addison’s medical expenses, Hahn said.

When she heard of the baby’s situation, Hahn said, she wasn’t sure how to help. But Hahn said she knew she had to do something for the family she has known for the past three years.

“Their family is amazing,” Hahn said of the Matneys. “They are some of the strongest people that I’ve ever met.”

Hahn said another friend of the Matneys, Sabrina Leonard, helped her plan the sale.

Not accustomed to accepting financial help from others, Danielle Matney, Addison’s mother, said the fundraiser put on by her friends is a blessing. Both she and her husband, Brett, are beginning to realize how quickly medical costs for Addison, Addi for short, can add up. At the same time, Matney said, there are people who are much worse off than they are, and they are glad for the help they have received.

“We’re very thankful for everybody being supportive,” she said. “We’re very, very grateful that they are doing everything.”

Addi was born about 2 months premature, along with her twin brother Conner. She spent 10 months in the hospital, but was able to come home with the help of a ventilator. Shortly after that, Danielle Matney found some lumps on her daughter’s belly. An ultrasound confirmed the lumps were cancerous — one large tumor and one smaller.

Not a candidate for a liver transplant because of her size, Matney said, Addi’s only other option to fight the cancer is chemotherapy, which she started about three weeks ago at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. The hope is that the smaller tumor will be shrunk completely away by the chemo, Matney said. Once the first round of chemo is complete, doctors will do another scan to see if the radiation is having an effect. That scan is scheduled for early next week, Matney said, and the family remains optimistic because of Addi’s reaction to the therapy.

Addi is able to be at home when she’s not going through therapy, Matney said, which has been a blessing. Despite the chemo that the doctors warned could take a toll on the baby’s little body, Matney said, the 13-month-old has been amazing throughout the process.

“Unbelievably, she actually has more energy and more smiles than I’ve ever seen her have,” Matney said. “She just is smiling like crazy. No side effects. Nothing.”

Looking to the future, Addi’s outlook still is uncertain, Matney said. By doing the radiation therapy rather than a transplant, Addi’s odds are not as high, her mother said. Matney said the family is living day by day, praying for Addi’s recovery.

“Every baby is different, and she’s fought hard all her life and made it through ...” she said. “So we let Addi do her thing, and put everything in God’s hands and see what He has planned.”

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