By Linda Scherer
Papa Tom’s Bar and Grill in Winsted is sponsoring a motorcycle run, hog roast, and silent auction to benefit 6-year-old Chase Banken Saturday, July 11.
The motorcycle run (plus option to ride a bus) will leave Papa Tom’s Bar & Grill at 111 1st Street North in Winsted at noon, returning to Winsted around 5 p.m. for the hog roast.
Chase is the son of Chad and Janet Banken of Chanhassen. He was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) Feb. 5, 2007, when he was just 4 years old and began chemotherapy immediately.
By fall 2007, he began chemotherapy called long-term maintenance.
He will continue treatments daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly until April 2010.
Although chemotherapy has been successful for Chase, boys with this type of leukemia have a treatment protocol of 3.5 years, according to Chase’s mother, Janet.
His daily and weekly chemotherapy is taken orally, the monthly treatment is IV chemotherapy through a port in his chest. When Chase takes the IV chemotherapy, he also takes steroids for five days.
The steroids that he takes actually kill cancer cells, according to Janet, but have side affects causing an increase of appetite. Patients become emotional, as well as aggressive, and have difficulty sleeping.
The IV chemotherapy drug that Chase gets often causes foot problems. He has had physical therapy since his first month of treatment, and he wears orthotics to help keep his arches from falling.
Through a study Chase is part of, Chad and Janet have seen great improvement while Chase has been wearing the orthotics and he now walks almost normally. He will wear the orthotics until he is completely finished with treatment.
Chase has been collecting beads of courage since he was diagnosed. Beads are given for each clinic visit, emergency room visit, IV chemotherapy, needle poke, spinal tap, hospital night stay, blood transfusion, physical therapy visit, plus many others.
“He has been so brave and we are so proud of him,” Janet said.
The cure rate for Chase’s type of leukemia is about 90 percent.
For an update on how well Chase is doing, go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/chasebanken.
For all that Chase has been through in the last two years, his life is relatively normal for a 6-year-old.
He just completed kindergarten at Clear Springs Elementary in Minnetonka. His favorite parts of school are writing and recess.
He plays baseball, does Kung Fu (mostly to help increase his strength and balance), had basketball camp last week, and still plans to attend tennis camp. He loves to ride his bike.
Chase enjoys time playing with his brothers Brock, 7, and Cade, 3. They like playing with Legos, Playmobil, playing the Nintendo Wii, and just being outdoors.
Chase’s illness hasn’t just affected his life, but his entire family.
Janet and Chad have learned to take one day at a time. A simple fever for Chase requires a visit to the emergency room to ensure that he does not have a serious infection. Low blood counts often require a hospital stay.
“I know more about leukemia than I care to know,” Janet said.
“We’ve seen many kids pass away from cancer, and it is hard to explain the why’s of that to your kids,” Janet said. “Three and a half years is a long time to undergo chemotherapy, and it has forced our kids to grow up faster.”
Donations for Chase can be made at Flagship Bank Winsted (320) 485-3831.
“We are grateful and humbled by the generosity of family, friends, neighbors, and others who are following our journey,” Janet said.