Local family raises money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

By Wendi Reardon Price
Staff Writer
— When Emily Buchanan’s son, Jackson, was diagnosed with leukemia in the fall of 2022, the family received a lot of help from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Now Emily, along with family, friends and the community, is helping the LLS as Team #FightBackJack, which is part of a campaign called Visionary of the Year.
Emily shared it feels good to give back to LLS.
“As someone who is a helper it is hard to accept the help when you need it, but obviously we did,” she said. “We needed it. We needed it for Jackson. It fills my cup being able to give back to those that have helped us and know that in turn we’re going to be able to help other families in similar situations.”
She added LLS helped early in Jackson’s journey.
“They sent us this huge box of resources, stuff to keep us organized, educational material, children’s books that kind of break down what the sickness means,” Emily said, adding they even included a Medi-Teddy, a Teddy Bear, which goes over the IV bags. “Jackson had a lot of transfusions and it to made it less scary.”
The campaign began on March 6 and ends May 16.
“The team came together because of Jack,” Emily said, adding it’s in his honor.
“My friend Carrie Vincent was nominated as the Visionary of the Year because she has such a good reach within our community, and she wanted to do it in honor of Jackson. So she picked and chose her team and we all want to do this for other people like Jackson.”
Emily added a bonus to helping is LLS does research which benefits the breast cancer community, which she is a two-time breast cancer survival.
“This is a ten week campaign,” said Amy Peterson, Jackson’s aunt and Emily’s sister. “We will not be doing this again. Once you take part in it you are done. People have given without even thinking twice. Even those who don’t have anything to give some of the most generous people.”
Emily added the response to the campaign has been great.
“There’s a lot of people donated to the cause and getting the word out,” she said.
The next fund raising event is a wine tasting at Oliver T’s in Grand Blanc at 6 p.m., April 25.
“They have specialty wines from all over and local beers and gourmet foods,” Peterson said. “Friends of mine who live in Clarkston are part owners of Oliver T’s. They offered the host the wine class so we could fund raise, but also learn about wine. They’re going to do like a four-course meal that’s included in the price of the ticket. A lot of the money is coming back to our campaign.”
She added Oliver T’s is also doing a raffle and silent auction.
There is a candle making and shopping event at North-End Candle Bar in downtown Clarkston, May 2.
The last big event is a Kentucky Derby Yacht Party in St. Clair Shores on Saturday, May 4, 12:30 p.m.
Peterson and Buchanan added attendees can get dressed up for it with big hats.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Buchanan. “There will be high-end food offerings, high-end drink offerings.
“Mint juleps as soon as you arrive to board the boat,” Peterson added. “It’ll be really fun. We’re going to have a DJ. We’ve asked Andy Dirks, who used to play for the Detroit Tigers, if he would welcome everybody and give a rundown of what we’re doing. He’s kind of like our MC. It should be a lot of fun.”
Any updates on upcoming events and fund raisers are on their Facebook group – Team #FightBackJack LLS 2024 Campaign.
“We wouldn’t even be where we are right now without our community,” said Peterson. “I really feel like I can’t say thank you enough for the people who mobilized when everything was happening. I mean, when you are in a hospital room at 11 o’clock at night and you’re told that your child has leukemia or your nephew has leukemia the whole world shifts and people came running. And, that’s what I love about our community.”
Jackson is currently on a maintenance treatments and receives an IV chemo once a month.
“He should be done in January with the maintenance treatment,” Emily said. “He was diagnosed in 2022 will be done in 2025. It’s a long journey for these kiddos, but he’s a trooper. He’s the happiest boy I’ve never met. He’s just the sweetest You would never know what he’s gone through. He loves playing outside. He loves playing chase around our kitchen island running from his siblings. He loves his Pluto pillow pet. He brings it with him everywhere. Never leaves home without it.”

Emily Buchanan and her son, Jackson. Photo: Provided

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