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Gold Hill rallies for 5-year-old with cancer

Hoping to meet or exceed a $10,100 fundraising event held last year, members of the Gold Hill Moose Lodge #178 are throwing a second shindig to raise money for a 5-year-old boy with local ties.

Nathaniel David Curry-Ohlsen missed Halloween in 2018 due to treatment for a high-risk type of neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer that affects the adrenal glands or surrounding tissue.

Nathaniel’s family had to relocate to Portland to be closer to treatment at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Still in Portland after numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, Nathaniel was approved for a clinical trial that requires travel to New York to receive immunotherapy shots.

Moose Lodge event spokesman and trustee Jeffrey Arsenault said the lodge wanted to keep helping Nathaniel through what they hope will be his final round of treatment.

The seven-vaccine immunotherapy trial will be costly and require lots of travel expenses, and at the same time Nathaniel’s grandfather, Buck Curry, must miss work to care for the boy.

“We are in the process of heading to New York City, which will make his chances really good, by 85% or better, that it will never show up again. He turned 5 in August. It’s hard to be always ‘on alert’ — wondering if what seems like a cold is something more.”

Arsenault said lodge members opted to keep helping Nathaniel because “he still needed our help.”

Last year’s fundraiser and the support of the small town was a huge boost for the boy and his family, Curry said.

“Things right now are very hopeful. Last year was very rough. Chemo for anybody, cancer treatment, it’s just pure hell. In August, we did the last scans, and he is in remission. With this type of cancer, it stands a 50% or greater chance of coming back. And it can come back in other places. So we’re very grateful it’s in remission, but it could still rear its ugly head again,” Curry said.

Curry said Nathaniel, who was excited about dragons and cats last year, is currently “very into” Legos and sea creatures — “doesn’t matter what kind, he loves dolphins, fish, octopus ... anything that lives in the water,” adding the boy is finally able to be a typical 5-year-old much of the time.

Curry expressed gratitude to the community, saying, “There is no way that words can say enough. We are blown away, and we have family and extended family all the way across the country, and it just blows them away, too, that a small community could come together like this and just reach out and do something that was so amazing.”

While Nathaniel has been away from his hometown of Gold Hill for the past year, lodge members wanted the family to feel like they were still part of the community.

“We weren’t done helping him. We were going to entertain the idea of anybody else who was needing help. Then we found out he had to go through this other treatment, and we wanted to continue in our support,” said Arsenault.

A native of Indiana, Arsenault is known for his barbecue skills and decided to help Nathaniel last year after learning about his family from his wife, who works with Nathaniel’s grandfather at Erickson.

Arsenault plans to slow cook his famous “Carolina-style” pork and Santa Maria Tri-Tip and serve it up with “all the fixins’” from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5.

Arsenault said many attendees who bought food last year donated extra, while local businesses donated raffle and auction prizes.

Any businesses interested in donating toward the event, monetarily or via items to raffle or auction, can email Arsenault until 2 p.m. Saturday at jeffreylee1523@yahoo.com.

Tickets cost $10 per plate.

Other activities slated for the second annual Road to Recovery BBQ Benefit include a raffle for a quilt donated by quiltmaker Jackie Davis, karaoke with Elvis, and a silent auction. Music will be provided by Gypsy Gillis Band.

The event will take place at the lodge, 9713 Old Stage Road.

For more information, see www.facebook.com/mooselodge178medford/

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

The second annual Road to Recovery BBQ Benefit Saturday at the Moose Lodge in Gold Hill will benefit 5-year-old Nathaniel David Curry-Ohlsen, who is battling a rare form of childhood cancer.