By AMY GAREIS
News-Herald Staff Writer
CADIZ – Some local 4-H organizations are going all out to make a difference for a local boy stricken with a rare cancer.
The Zack Jones Benefit has been set for Oct. 23—Make A Difference Day—at the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Cadiz. Food stands will be open from noon to 7 p.m. with the Freeport and Moorefield Township Volunteer Fire Departments selling barbecued chicken and other groups offering various concessions. A car cruise-in with Tom “DJ Spike Man” Spiker and an antique tractor show will take place from 2-4 p.m. The first 50 car or tractors will receive a dash plaque for participating. Other activities include a cornhole tournament, Mini Relay For Life, musical entertainment, Chinese, silent and live auctions, children’s games and, weather permitting, horseshoes and a hayride with a pumpkin patch ripe for the picking.
Co-organizer Amy Edwards said the day of fun-filled festivities would help defray medical and other expenses for Zack, a 14-year-old Freeport youth recently diagnosed with undifferentiated embryonal sarcoma, an extremely rare form of cancer that has affected his liver and gall bladder. He is undergoing treatment and surgery could occur in about three or four months, after which he would have to undergo more chemo plus radiation. His illness has left him homebound and he is being tutored to keep up with his studies.
Edwards said Janet Fenstamaker, an advisor for the Tri-County Showstoppers 4-H Club of which Zack is a member, approached her with the idea.
“Janet said her club wanted to do something for Zack but [the group] was not big enough, and she asked if we could help,” Edwards said. “Everyone agreed to do this.”
She added that it is the largest 4-H project since she has been involved in the organization and the public outpouring has been great.
“It’s Make A Difference Day, so we decided to do everything local. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. There are people from all around who are involved in this. It snowballed from a little thing to a big event.”
Edwards said people can donate funds or items for the benefit and every penny of the proceeds will help Zack and his family. Organizers have also mailed letters and knocked on doors seeking sponsors and efforts have been far-reaching. Future Farmers of America chapters in Harrison and Belmont counties are donating to the cause and one Jefferson County 4-H Club has issued a challenge to others in that area to assist at the benefit. The FFA, United Dairy and South Central Power have donated pop, while McConnell’s Meats is providing ground beef and Karen’s Country Cooking is purveying homemade noodles. There will be a love offering for food. Meanwhile, kids’ carnival games will be held in the Junior Fair building and youth can even get their faces painted.
Tickets are available for the 50-50 raffle at $1 each or $5 for six and more $5 tickets will be sold at D&J Sales and Service and Jefferson Landmark to win jewelry, hunting gear, a whole hog including processing and taxidermy services.
Auctioneers Steve Birney and Steve Cronebaugh will lead the live auctions featuring autographed merchandise from singers Gretchen Wilson, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, NFL star Joe Theissman and Notre Dame University Coach Lou Holtz, a Krone KR125 baler, use of a Massey Ferguson tractor, use of a McCormick tractor, candles, crafts and myriad other goods. Nineteen 4-H clubs each donated $25 gift cards that are being placed on a special tree to be auctioned during the benefit.
Edwards and Fenstamaker are selling “Pulling for Zack” shirts drawn by the boys’ younger brother, Cael, and Kenwood Vinyl, Jefferson Landmark, the OSU Extension Office and 4-H Club are also taking orders at a cost of $10 to $18 depending on the style of shirt. Long- and short-sleeved and crew neck T’s and hooded sweatshirts are available.
“We will have music at 2 p.m., and weather permitting we will have the pumpkin patch. We will do a hayride with tractors and people can pick pumpkins,” Edwards added. “We also will have an area set up for video messages for Zack. People can pay a fee to make a video message on DVD.”
The videos will be given to Zack to encourage him in his brave fight, while Edwards was unsure whether the boy would attend the outing. A fund has also been established in Zack’s name at WesBanco Bank in Freeport.
For more information or to donate, contact Edwards at 740-491-1328 or 740-945-8700 or Fenstamaker at 740-968-3096 or 740-827-3064.
Pictured above, Joelle, Cael and Zack Jones don shirts Cael created to support his brother’s fight with a rare form of cancer.