Pulling together

Community rallies around fifth-grader battling bone cancer

By Brett Auten

In a time of need and support, friends and loved ones are paramount.

A local family has been emotionally put through the ringer and an O’Fallon church is doing what it can to help.

The Assumption Church is having a BBQ Chicken Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 1 – 6 p.m. to benefit the Bartold family with its medical expenses.

“We wanted to do what we can to make it easier on them and show them how much support they have,” Norma O’Bryan, a friend of the Bartold family, said. “The Bartolds have been very positive and Will always has a smile on his face.”

Ten-year-old Will Bartold was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that occurs primarily in children. In August, a bone with a seven-inch tumor was removed from his arm. Doctors replaced that bone with one from his leg, and he faces several more chemotherapy sessions before the end of the year.

The doctors found an eight-centimeter tumor in Will’s arm and it turns out that the pain was osteosarcoma

Like that, the Bartolds’ lives were turned upside down. 

The family went from two incomes to one and instead of loading up the car and going to hockey games, it is now the mind-numbing drives to doctors, labs, treatments and chemotherapy appointments. 

Will, a fifth-grader at Forest Park Elementary, started his 30 weeks of chemo on Mother’s Day weekend recently had surgery to remove part of the tumor.  Each round of chemo the Bartolds have to stay at Children’s Hospital for a minimum of three days. While they have had good news with the recent August operation, it is still going to be a long, uphill climb for the family. Assumption Church is hoping that the love and financial help of their family and friends, their new normal will be easier to transition to. 

Will recently made headlines when he as invited to the Hardee’s IcePlex in Chesterfield where he was named an honorary member of the Blues Alumni during its annual Fantasy Camp. He was greeted at the door by former Blues who led him to the locker room to meet all of the Blues Alumni playing in the three-day camp plus current Blues. It was an emotional moment when Will walked onto the ice, where all 200 of the former Blues, current Blues and amateur hockey players participating in camp greeted him by slapping their sticks on the ice as a show of support and encouragement.

At the Assumption Church BBQ Chicken Dinner, each adult dinner is $15, kids meals are $8 with all proceeds going to help the Bartold Family in their medical expenses.

Playing at the event will be a jazz ensemble made up of local teenagers.

The Aidan Murrow Trio hail from O’Fallon. Murrow plays guitar while twin brothers, Jacob and Zachary Ruhmann (drums and bass respectively) holds down the rhythm section. Now juniors in high school, Aiden at Christian Brothers College and the Ruhmanns at Fort Zumwalt West, the trio have known each other since early grade school. 

“We’re strictly a jazz cover band,” Murrow said. “We used to play classic rock, 70s and 80s, but we have a lot of great influences. Once we brought all of our talents together, it just clicked.”

The group formed over the summer and have played Madison’s Cafe and various fairs and other charity events. The Aiden Murrow has its feet set in jazz but does showcase elements of swing, blues, and Latin. 

“We have done charity events in the past, including one at United Services,” Zachary Ruhmann said. “We were told things were looking optimistic for him and we were happy to do it.”

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