LA PORTE CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - As wrestlers warmed up, and fans tried to beat the heat, one concession stand along Main Street at Saturday's La Porte Days celebration offered the best option for a hot summer day — a cold glass of lemonade.
Each cup of the cool drink and every single cookie sold at the stand, manned by kids from a La Porte City neighborhood, went toward helping the boy who couldn’t be there with his friends.
Well, that’s if his grandparents could track five-year-old Jaxton Tarrance down in the first place.
“Climbing the trees, riding his bike where he’s not supposed to,” Jax’s grandmother, Sheri Felderman, said. “Yeah, just very active and just all boy.”
About a month ago, Jax said his back was hurting him, but no doctor or chiropractor could find what was wrong.
“Getting ready for bed, he got a really bad backache,” Felderman said. “I got her to bed, went back to check on him, and he had lost feeling in his legs.”
When they took him to the hospital, doctors found a tumor on his spine, which left him paralyzed and with only a 10 percent chance to walk again, according to Felderman.
Jax will start radiation in July in hopes of shrinking the rest of the tumor on his spine.
His grandparents take care of both him and his baby sister, one-year-old Izabella. When the going got tough, their neighbors stepped in.
“We were just sitting at another neighbor’s one night, and the idea got brought up that we should do a lemonade stand on Memorial Day weekend,” neighbor Krystal Schmitz said.
Schmitz, her family and other families from the Feldermans’ neighborhood held that stand and others in the last couple weeks. So far, they say they’ve raised a few thousand dollars for Jax and his family.
"That's one of the amazing things about living in a small community like this is when that you see somebody need, your neighbor, that we really all join together,” Schmitz said.
“It makes us really proud to be from La Porte,” Felderman added. “It’s amazing.”
Jax’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help with his medical expenses going forward.