November 4, 2008
Ashland rallies to help young boy's family
By Angela Howe-Decker
Two benefits have been scheduled to raise money for the family of Kealii Chamberlin, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The community is pitching in to help the family of 8-year old Kealii Chamberlin, who was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor called medulloblastoma. Doctors in Ashland discovered the tumor and flew the youngster to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. After an 8-hour surgery, most of the fist-sized tumor was successfully removed, but the little boy will need one more surgery, six weeks of radiation therapy, and six months of chemotherapy.
Friends of the Chamberlins are organizing a soccer tournament and a movie event as fundraisers to help with the overwhelming medical and travel expenses."People are trying to step up and help the family, such as organizing fundraisers and making meals. We have also opened a bank account in the family's name for donations," said family friend Dannae LaQua. "The Chamberlins are amazing people, they are an amazing family," she added.The family has a long history in Ashland.
Nicole and Jon Chamberlin met as students at SOU in 1994, where he played football for the college and she played basketball. "We have been here ever since," she said. Nicole is an Oregon native and Jon is from Waimea, Hawaii. Kealii's name is Hawaiian, short for Kealiihoomaluokekai, which means chief protector of the ocean, but friends and family call him Bradda. He and his twin sister are second-graders at Bellview elementary. He also has a younger sister and a baby brother.
Nicole describes her son as "an old soul" who always thinks of others first and loves being with his family. She remembers as he was being prepared for his life-flight to Portland, he tried to reassure his father. "He said, 'don't worry dad, everything is going to be OK.'"Bradda loves animals and wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up. He also loves outdoor activities and sports, especially basketball.
The Chamberlins have been touched by the outpouring of support they have received since their son's diagnosis."We want to say thank you to the community for all their support, thoughtfulness and concern. It is amazing how a community can come together for a family in a time of need, from the people we know to those we don't," Nicole said. "We are forever grateful and when we are finished with our journey we too hope to help others the way they have done for us," she added.
There are two fundraising events scheduled.
The first is on Nov. 9, at 11 a.m., at the YMCA Soccer Fields, where community members are invited to Bradda's Soccer Tournament. Local soccer teams (6- to 8-year-olds), including Bradda's, will compete during this one-day soccer tournament. Concessions will be available. Call Nick at (541) 890-7230 with questions or to help sponsor this event.
The second is on Nov. 15, at 9 a.m. when Ashland Street Cinemas will host Bradda's Family Movie Morning. The movie begins at 9:30 a.m. The cost is $10 per person, which includes free concessions. "Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa" (a new release) will be screened. There will also be a silent auction. Organizers advise arriving early as seating is limited. For more information call Rainy at (541) 779-3309.
All the proceeds from these events will go to the Chamberlin family. Donations may also be made directly by mail. Make checks payable to John and Nicole Chamberlin and mail to Lucy McLennan, PMB #159, 2305 Ashland Street, Suite C, Ashland OR 97520.
Bradda is truly an amazing little boy. He is so sweet, and has such a great demeanor. He also has a twin sister Ula, so of course I have a special place in my heart for him and his sister. I remember when they were first born, about this same time eight years earlier. They were early and had to spend a few days in the NICU, not wanting them to miss out on their first Halloween, my friend Tee and I, picked up some cute Halloween socks and hats to take to them, since that is about all they can wear in the NICU!! When my twins were born a few years later, Nicole, their Mom, was one of the first to call and tell me not to worry, that even though my babies were born early, they too would be healthy and live normal lives. What a comfort that was, having babies born at 33 weeks. I wish I could tell her the same thing now. They are an amazing family, Bradda has another little sister and a baby brother who just turned one. He is so good with his siblings, and he was always so sweet to my little boys, I think he liked that they were twins too! If you can't make it to the movie, just keep them in your prayers. He starts Chemo in a few weeks, and although the road will be long, the doctors are optimistic. His Mom is just amazing, there family is amazing, they take the kids on all kinds of adventures. I think they rafted down the river before their first birthday. He is a fighter, just look at that photo, he is such a character. We love you Bradda, keep on fighting.