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Community rallies for boy with cancer

Heidi Rice
Western Garfield County Staff
Submitted PhotoNathan Jaffrey sits in his hospital bed with his sister by his side.
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SILT ” Little Nathan Jaffrey calls his disease “Mr. Yucky.”

And it is yucky ” it’s cancer.

The 4-year-old son of Marc and Mary Jaffrey, of Silt, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in late May and remains in Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver.



“He was diagnosed on Memorial Day and airlifted from Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs,” said Marc Jaffrey. “We thought he just had pneumonia. He had a racing pulse and was coughing.”

As it turned out, the cancer had settled in Nathan’s lungs, and the left lung had shut down with fluid that was pushing on his right lung.



“This particular cancer is something that kids get that affects their nervous system,” Jaffrey explained. “Stage 4 is the worst stage. He’s got a tumor in his lung and its spread to his lymph nodes, neck and bone marrow.”

Nathan is currently going through his fifth round of chemotherapy and is scheduled for surgery later this month to remove the tumor.

Naturally, the chemo makes him sick and he’s given his nurses a nickname to reflect his displeasure.

“He calls them ‘Nasty Bugs’ because they give him medicine that makes him throw up,” Jaffrey said. “But he knows the chemo is supposed to kill Mr. Yucky and make him better.”

The Jaffreys have two other children, Addie, 2, and Alex, 13. Marc Jaffrey is a builder and contractor, but neither he nor his wife have been able to work the last few months in order to stay in Denver near Nathan. The family has health insurance, but because some of Nathan’s treatment is still experimental, it isn’t covered by the insurance company. His medical bills have already reached $500,000.

“We take it one day at a time,” Jaffrey said. “It makes you realize what’s important in life.”

Jaffrey has served for 11 years as a volunteer with the Burning Mountain Fire Protection District, which is rallying behind him and putting on a fund-raising spaghetti dinner and street dance on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Burning Mountain Fire Station 1, located at 611 Main Street in Silt, to help raise funds for the family.

But the fire district personnel aren’t the only ones helping out.

Jerry Seifert, of Silt, a senior member with the fire district, decided to buy a pig from the Garfield County Fair to auction off at the fund-raiser. He wanted to buy one from a kid who hadn’t done well at the 4-H show.

Danika Porter, 13, of Silt, had a pig that was 282 pounds ” two pounds overweight ” and didn’t qualify.

Seifert asked the girl what she wanted for the pig and she said $2.25 per pound. Seifert gave her $2.50 a pound and bought the pig with his own money for $705, explaining Nathan’s plight and that the pig would be used for a good cause.

“I barely got home from Rifle and my phone rang and she asked if I could come back to the fairgrounds because she had something to give me,” Seifert said.

He went back and the girl gave him $100 “to help the little boy.”

“That took a lot for a little girl to give from her 4-H fund,” Seifert said. “It takes a lot of guts for somebody who doesn’t even know him.”

The fund-raiser for Nathan will begin with the dinner and auction from 5-8 p.m. and a street dance from 6-11 p.m. The Dags, a popular local band, have donated their time to play for the dance on Sixth Street. Area merchants have donated prizes for the silent auction.

“There will be kid’s rides on the fire trucks and games,” said Adria Milton, vice-president of the fire district board.

Those wishing to make donations to the Nathan Jaffrey Medical Fund can do so at US Bank, 802 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 or call 945-5422.

For more information about the fund-raiser or how you can help out, please call Adria Milton or Wendy Mead at 876-5738.


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