Aiden Baumgartner, an eight-year-old student at Horace Mann Elementary in Ottumwa, was planning to spend the summer playing baseball and swimming, but when he found out he had a cancerous tumor on the bone of his upper arm, he's spent the summer undergoing surgery and chemotherapy instead.
The diagnosis came in May after Aiden heard a "pop" in his right shoulder while running at baseball practice. University of Iowa Hospital diagnosed him with osteosarcoma and Aiden underwent surgery last week. He has about 12-14 weeks of chemo to come.
Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Ottumwa will be holding a benefit called Dollars for Aiden from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, September 6 to help Aiden's family with medical costs. The church on North Court Street is right across the street from Horace Mann, so the event will kick off with root beer floats and hot dogs for the kids after school from 3-5 p.m.
There will also be a pulled pork dinner from 5-7 p.m. and the Bluegrass Blondies will be playing from 6-8 p.m. Pastor Ron Barnett said the church doesn't have a goal for how much money they'd like to raise, but they would like to be able to give around $3,000 to Aiden's family.
About $1,400 has already been raised before the event has even taken place, which goes to show the generosity of the community.
"I think people in general have very giving hearts, they feel the needs of many people and they come together," said Pastor Barnett. "The merchants have come together, to donate certain items, the people have come together in preparing the food, the people have come together in giving of their gifts of financial support, so the community really does come together for events like this."
There will also be a silent auction throughout the night, which includes items like a quilt from the Bloomfield Quilters Guild and many others. There will also be a free will donation available.
Thrivent Financial has offered a three-to-one match up to $1,400, which will go a long way towards meeting that $3,000 mark.
If you cannot make Friday's event, you can still donate. Send any contributions to Saint Paul Lutheran Church at 1524 North Court Street, Ottumwa, 52501 and be sure to indicate that it is a donation for Dollars for Aiden. If you have any questions, contact the church at 641-684-4214.