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Garage sale planned to support HHS grad’s daughter

Kari, Jake and Ellorie Jacobs are pictured together. Ellorie, the couple’s first and only child, is recovering from neuroblastoma. Submitted photos

Ellorie Jacobs hasn’t had the easiest start to life. At just 16 months old, she’s already had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy, thanks to a childhood cancer.

Ellorie is the daughter of Kari (Christensen) Jacobs, a 1991 Hastings High School graduate, and her husband, Jeffrey (Jake). The Jacobs, now living in Lakeville, discovered their daughter had cancer last October.

Their first sign that something was wrong was something simple: Ellorie didn’t want to eat or drink.

“At first we thought she was just fussy,” Kari Jacobs said.

They took her to the doctor the next morning, where they found Ellorie had a bladder obstruction. Then came the big word: cancer. It was about 10 centimeters long, running along her spine from her aorta to her rectum and pushing on her organs, Jacobs said.

Ellorie spent the next 12 days at Children’s Hospital, while doctors ran tests and scans to determine exactly what type of cancer they were dealing with and how best to treat it. It was neuroblastoma, a fast-growing cancer of the nerve cells.

She started chemotherapy Oct. 17, and they were able to shrink the tumor to the 4- to 6-centimeter range. That was followed by surgery to remove the rest of it. They were able to get 99.9 percent of it, Jacobs said.

Now, the family is starting down a long road of watching and waiting.

“We’re in this wait and see phase,” Jacobs said.

Next on the schedule is a series of regular testing to make sure the cancer doesn’t come back. The next five years will be full of scans. After that, doctors will be watching for other types of cancers throughout her childhood that the chemotherapy might have left her vulnerable to.

“You’ve just got to take it day by day,” Jacobs said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen over the next 18 years.”

Ellorie has handled the ordeal incredibly well.

“It’s amazing,” Jacobs said. “She doesn’t even have a clue. I know she felt it after surgery … but she didn’t get sick. She was just like a trooper.”

The hardest part of it, she said, was that all of this happened right when Ellorie was starting to crawl. Being restricted right when she wanted to be more active has been difficult. They’re past all that now, though.

“Now, she’s just living life. She just recently … started walking,” Jacobs said.

Support

Cancer is never easy to deal with, emotionally or financially, and the Jacobs have been no exception.

“In the end, Kari and I have come to realize that we cannot do this alone,” Jake Jacobs wrote on their GoFundMe page. “The generosity and love from our friends and family is overwhelming. We are moved to tears as you all have asked how you can help.

“Here is one option: We are not sure how we will be able to make ends meet. There surely is no price, as to which we would pay, to make Ellorie well. With that said, we can’t even estimate what this means financially.”

Through it all, the Jacobs’ friends, family and neighbors have stepped up to support them. Beyond sending cards, they’ve organized fundraisers, visits, rides to the hospital, a meal train so they had dinner every night – “you name it, they thought of it,” Kari Jacobs said.

One of those friends is Pam Johnson, a fellow 1991 HHS graduate. Johnson said she’s been friends with Jacobs since ninth grade, and Jacobs has always been the rock of their group. Now, she said, it’s their turn to help her.

Johnson had organized a multi-family sale for Hastings’ city-wide garage sale for about 15 years. One of her friends, Michelle (Gubash) Kloncz, suggested using her “gift of putting together garage sales” to drive another fundraiser. Since February, Johnson has been collecting donated items for the sale, and now the whole third level of her home is full, she said.

On Saturday, April 25, Johnson will open the sale to the public. It will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., located at 2413 Brooke Lane in Hastings.

Some items in the sale include a patio set, high chair, boys and girls clothes of all sizes, hockey equipment, board games, video games, household items, adult clothes, printer/fax machine, handbags, shoes, toys and more.

Anyone who can’t attend the garage sale can contribute online at www.gofundme.com/EllorieJacobs.

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