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January 08. 2014 10:34PM

Fundraiser planned for 12-year-old Hudson cancer patient

HUDSON — A benefit in Nashua later this month will help the family of a 12-year-old cancer patient cover medical and travel expenses.

McKenzie Lowe, a Hudson sixth-grader, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) in November 2012.

While McKenzie’s tumor initially responded to chemotherapy and radiation, doctors last fall discovered the tumor was growing again and warned that treatment options were few.

Late last November, McKenzie’s family made a public plea for support, noting that an experimental new drug not yet approved by the FDA might be their last hope.

Word of an online petition imploring state and federal officials to make a “compassion exception” for McKenzie quickly spread. As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition had over 61,500 signatures.

The family hopes to travel to Texas soon for McKenzie’s treatments, though as it stands now they’re still awaiting word on whether that will happen.Meanwhile, McKenzie and her family are trying their best to remain positive.Frank LaFountain, McKenzie’s grandfather, said McKenzie spent four days at Children’s Hospital in Boston last week after contracting a stomach virus and a bad sinus infection.

“Fortunately, it wasn’t tumor-related,” LaFountain said. “The tumor hasn’t grown anymore, which is a very good thing.”

By Tuesday afternoon, McKenzie was feeling much better and attended a roller skating party with her Girl Scout troop.

Sean Lavery, managing partner at Uno on Amherst Street, said he learned about McKenzie while attending a concert at Alvirne High School last month.

“Frank approached me with the petition,” Lavery recalled. “I told him we’d love to host a fundraiser.”

The fundraiser at Uno is scheduled Jan. 16, with activities planned throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

“As a parent myself, I’m hoping we can make it extra special,” Lavery said.

Highlights of the fundraiser include a silent auction and performances by the Granite Statesmen singers.

One hundred percent of the auction’s proceeds will assist McKenzie and her family, while 20 percent of the restaurant’s proceeds from that day will likewise assist the cause.

Lavery said he’s still seeking donations of silent auction items from area businesses and community members. Those wishing to help with the auction are encouraged to contact him at 886-4132.

Check donations may also be sent to: Friends of McKenzie Lowe, C/O DCU Credit Union, 257 Lowell Road, Hudson NH 03051.aguilmet@newstote.com


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