Herald Journal Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 22, 2002

Battling leukemia with a book fair

By Julie Yurek

Four years ago, Jason Fern started a battle with leukemia.

Now, at age 9, Fern is starting the battle again.

"He was in remission, but in January it came back," said Todd Baumann-Fern, Jason's father.

Fern receives treatment once a week at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.

"He's able to get to school most days," Todd said. "Soon, he will have radiation therapy every day for two weeks straight."

Fern attends Winsted Elementary as a third grader at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Elementary.

"He's quiet student," commented his teacher Kathryn Pettit. "We try to keep everything as normal as possible.

Fern makes a terrific effort to keep up with his school work, despite some absences and the pain, Pettit said.

"He has a cheery outlook," she said.

To help Fern with his battle, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school is hosting a community-wide Scholastic book fair for Fern all next week.

The fundraiser begins Monday, April 29 and continues through Friday, May 3. It will be at Winsted Elementary and hours run 8 a.m to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

All proceeds will go directly to the family.

It was the school that approached the family about the fundraiser, Baumann-Fern said.

"The teachers and everyone really wanted to help the Baumann-Fern family out," said Julie Millerbernd, principal of Winsted Elementary. "We wanted the fundraiser to also be in connection to learning."

"With summer coming up, we thought this would be a great way to encourage summer reading and raise some money," Millerbernd said.

The items at the book fair are between kindergarten to sixth grade reading levels, Millerbernd said.

"We also will have a raffle going on during the book fair, but it will go on past the end of the fair," she said.

One raffle prize is a $100 gift certificate from Target, Millerbernd said. "We're hoping to get one from Wal-Mart also,"

Individuals are also helping in any way to raise money.

"A teacher bought candy in bulk and it is for sale in the school," Millerbernd said.

"Humphrey Elementary is also doing a book fair the same week for the Baumann-Fern family," Millerbernd said.

Fern's sisters, Alexa Fern and Jasmin Bigaouette, attend Humphrey Elementary. His brother, Reid Baumann-Fern, attends preschool at Winsted Elementary. The youngest of the family is TJ, who is three years old.

"Everyone from the community is encouraged to come to the book fair," Millerbernd said.

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