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Grassroots Group Comes To Aid Of Young Cancer Patient

OSWEGO, NY – There is a grassroots effort taking root in the Port City to assist Julian Ross, a local seven-year-old boy with Stage IV Neuroblastoma.

It is an aggressive type of cancer that started in his adrenal gland and has spread throughout his body.

Julian Ross, dressed in a West Point uniform, tells Kingsford Park second graders about the Monkey in my Seat Project.
Julian Ross, dressed in a West Point uniform, tells Kingsford Park second graders about the Monkey in my Seat Project.

Julian was diagnosed on August 4, 2011. Since then he has had multiple surgeries, chemotherapy treatments, bone marrow aspirations, scans, transfusions and blood draws. Julian and his family make frequent visits to CHOP (Children’ Hospital Of Philadelphia) for his cancer fighting treatments and he often has to be admitted to the hospital.

Julian will be receiving Proton Therapy and Monoclonal Antibodies; at a cost of $450,000, which is partially covered by his family’s insurance, but added to their accumulated mountain of debt makes daily living a struggle. The family has had to make tough decisions like selling their personal belongings and more.

Several groups and individuals have stepped up to help them. The Oswego Firefighters’ Association, for instance, held a benefit for the youngster on August 4, the one-year anniversary of Julian’s diagnosis. It raised more than $15,700 for the family.

Now, Jessica Hofschulte is spearheading “Operation Upstairs/Downstairs House” for Julian.

“Let’s help him get the most difficult thing on his bucket list completed, an addition onto his house, so he can have an upstairs bedroom! There are many things we will need to get this accomplished to complete this wish for Julian. We have a general contractor and need volunteers and monetary donations,” she said. “The goal is to have this addition completed by the end of November. This can be done if we all come together and help out the Ross family in their biggest time of need.”

They have heard from a general contractor, Rick Lofthouse, who has offered to help.

“He is awesome! We had a great meeting and we are busy planning and getting things lined up to start,” Hofschulte said. “We will be needing lots of volunteers and lots of money donated to the fund.”

Kyle James, owner of Kyle and Son Spray Foam Insulation, has also graciously donated all time and labor to insulate Operation Upstairs/Downstairs House, she said.

If anyone can donate time to help, email her at [email protected]

Those who’d like to make a monetary donation can send it to Oswego County Federal Credit Union PO Box 310, Oswego 13126 Attention: “Operation Upstairs/Downstairs for Julian Ross,” she added.

For more information on the project and suggestions on how to help, visit http://fnd.us/c/2N39a

They already have a more than $250 in additional donations, she said.

“I hope we can make more people aware. This involves the community coming together to build him his biggest wish,” she said. “This is something that will affect his daily life.”

Along with the diagnosis of a serious illness comes time away from school for youngsters like Julian. Whether it’s a day or two here and there or many weeks or months at a time, this can be hard on the child and their classmates.

Monkey In My Chair is a program originally developed in honor of Chloe Watson Feyerherm for pre-school and elementary aged children who are away from school because of a cancer diagnosis. As a result of Chloe’s experience, her mother, teachers and community got together to develop the program through the efforts of their newly-established charity: the Love Chloe Foundation.

Last year, the foundation partnered with The Cure Starts Now Foundation to offer the program to a wider audience.

Through the program, each child is provided with a “monkey kit,” which includes a big stuffed monkey to take their place in school when they are unable to be there.

The students are able to communicate with their classmate using the monkey as a medium. They’re encouraged to write to their classmate and tell them what their monkey has been doing in school during their absence.

This helps ensure the lines of communication remain open between the patient and their classroom and friends.

Kristen Griffen, an educational specialist at Galisano Children’s Hospital visited Kingsford Park Elementary School recently with a special friend.

Inside her backpack she had a large stuffed monkey. The monkey would sit in Julian’s chair while he is receiving treatments. It will be the students’ link to Julian until he returns.

The children told Griffen that Julian wasn’t in school because he had to go to the hospital all the time – because he has cancer.

He has to get some special medicine to make him better, and he is getting better and better each time, one of the second graders told her.

Julian has a web page http://www.juliansjoust.com/

Please, visit his site, read about Julian and sign his guestbook or become a member to show him that he is not alone in this fight.