ALTON — A benefit for local leukemia patient Jake Botterbush is set for 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, July 23, in the Marquette Catholic High School gym, 219 E. Fourth St.
Botterbush, son of Karen, an Alton School District educator; and Tim, a retired Alton police sergeant, was diagnosed Feb. 13 with acute myeloid leukemia after visiting the emergency room for flu-like symptoms that had persisted for a week. He was transferred to Barnes in St. Louis, where he underwent 7 days of intensive chemotherapy, and had to stay in the hospital more than a month. This was difficult on Jake’s family — his wife, Elizabeth; and 2-year old daughter, Libby, who has her own challenges with an underactive pituitary gland, requiring monthly blood tests in St. Louis. Libby’s condition makes it difficult for her to tolerate heat, she is small for her age, her speech is delayed and she will require growth hormones, which are not covered by insurance.
Since February, Jake has endured monthly 5-day chemo treatments, followed by 2 weeks when he’s extremely weak, needing blood and platelet transfusions twice a week. Jake is hospitalized, completing an intensive chemo treatment, and is scheduled for a stem cell transplant on July 13. Jake was lucky to find a donor who is a 100 percent match — an anonymous woman to whom Jake and his family will be forever grateful. Following the transplant, he will be hospitalized for 30 days while he is monitored for infection, rejection, graft and host disease. Following that, he will need to rent an apartment in St. Louis to be close to Siteman Cancer Center for weekly monitoring and tests. He will be monitored for 3 years before he can be considered cured.
The future is uncertain because Jake cannot return to his former job in a meat packing company — he will be susceptible to infection and disease, and will need to repeat all of his immunizations. All of his visits to Siteman in St. Louis have been a hardship on the family, which lives 2 hours away in Calhoun County. The financial strain of the mounting hospital bills for Jake and Libby on a single income, coupled with the fact they recently purchased their first home, motivated friends and family to plan a benefit.
The event will feature chicken, pasta, salad, dessert and iced tea or lemonade. A cash bar will be available. Activities will include a DJ, raffles for a gun, cash and baskets; and silent and live auctions, with items including a South Carolina vacation package, patio set, barbecue grill package, Gateway race track package, St. Louis Staycation package, Margaritaville Bar and Cornhole set and more. Cost is $20 for adults, $5 for children age 6 to 12, and children younger than 6 are free. Tickets are available at Liberty Bank in Alton, Bank of Calhoun, Bank of Kampsville, The Salon of Papa Toodles in Alton, and at the door.
For information, contact Karen at (618) 792-9367 or Becky at (618) 604-4018.