Benefit planned to help young superhero smash cancer
A benefit for 3-year-old Cullen Ayer, who is battling Stage 3 Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma, will be held Saturday, Jan. 26, from 3-7 p.m. at Marathon City Sport Center, 1300 Hwy. 107, Marathon.
Cullen is the son of Scott and Tiffany Ayer. Scott, a Merrill native, now lives with his family in Mosinee.
At just 10 months old, Cullen underwent a heart transplant. After recovering from the transplant, he thrived, enjoying outdoor activities and anything involving superheroes.
But, two years after receiving his new heart, Cullen was diagnosed in November 2018 with Stage 3 Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma, which had spread to his lungs, liver and skin. The first signs of cancer were a flaky scalp and loss of hair. The type of lymphoma Cullen has is very rare in children.
Cullen’s family had been told following his heart transplant that there was a 2 percent chance lymphoma could be a side effect of the anti-rejection medication.
“It was like a sock in the gut,” said Cullen’s grandmother, Judy Ayer of Merrill. “It was just heart wrenching. It was a two percent chance, and he has to be the two percent.”
Cullen celebrated his third birthday on Dec. 9, 2018, at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital, where he is receiving chemotherapy treatments. As of Monday, Cullen remained at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital, undergoing a third round of chemotherapy.
Judy reported that the results of the last two rounds of stronger chemotherapy show promise. Cullen remains a trooper through this ordeal, she added.
“Little ones shouldn’t have to be the superheroes,” Judy said. “He has been so stoic and tells the nurses thank you. He’s been pretty darn brave.”
Tiffany remains with her son in Milwaukee, while Scott recently had to return to work in Wausau.
Friends of Scott and Tiffany organized the benefit, called “Cullen SMASH Cancer” for his love of superheroes, particularly the Incredible Hulk. Activities will include bowling, live music, food, basket drawings, a silent auction and kids games.
More information is available at facebook.com/cullenSMASHcancer.
For more information or to donate an item, email cullenSMASHcancer@gmail.com.
Monetary donations can be made to Scott or Tiffany Ayer at any Connexus Credit Union.