It was music to the ears of the Requena family, of Woodville, and the close to 100 who attended when several local musicians – including a famous face – came together Nov. 23 for a concert to benefit 10-year-old Connor Requena, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia.
The benefit, held at the Mainstreet Bar in East Toledo, was headlined by Chuck Mosley – former front man for Faith No More. Opening performers included Para Bellum, Reverse the Belief, Give Way to Malice, The Panic Bar, Flush, and Chernobyl Cult.
The $10 donation for admission, along with funds raised from donations and a 50/50 raffle, with prizes that included a guitar autographed by the performing bands, will help the family meet expenses associated with Connor’s ongoing treatment.
It’s been a rough road since the 10-year-old Woodmore Elementary student was diagnosed two years ago with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia – a cancer of the blood. He has completed two years of treatment, and faces one more.
According to his mom, Sarah, it all started Oct 5, 2011, with Connor developed a fever and then a cough. Just when it seemed things were getting better, the fever would come back. Connor became extremely weak.
He had also been very itchy and scratched so much that he got with bruises on his legs, and spots where he scratched himself raw.
A spike in the fever led Sarah and her husband Marcos to take Connor to the emergency room, where he got a shot in each leg of a stronger antibiotic. Shortly after, Connor was complaining his leg was wet; he was bleeding from the injection site on his left leg.
A few days later, when Connor still wasn’t better, he visited the nurse practitioner at his family doctor’s office, who suspected MRSA and changed his antibiotics.
When the youth’s condition continued to deteriorate, his parents scheduled another appointment for the doctor. With Connor’s leg looking worse and his fever spiking again, the doctor ordered blood work. Shortly afterward, the family got a call with the alarming news that there was a problem with Connor’ hemoglobin levels. They were directed to take the youth to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Toledo Children’s Hospital as a direct admit.
At the PICU, they were met by Dr. Jamie Dargart, who introduced herself as a hematology/oncology doctor – which shocked and frightened the family.
“Oh, his hemoglobin is low, hence hematology; my heart started beating again,” Sarah said.
Then the doctor took Sarah and Marcos down the hall to a little room, asked them more questions and then said the dreaded words – Connor might have leukemia. “And our hearts stopped,” Sarah said.
They took comfort in hearing that Connor had a more treatable kind of leukemia, and that they could finally start treatment for a cure.
But the treatment can be grueling. “Every 12 weeks he gets a spinal tap with the chemo injected into his spinal fluids; after that he gets a dose of steroids,” Marcos said. “He also gets IV chemo through an IV port. He takes daily oral chemotherapy pills.
“Usually after treatments he ends up being out of school for two to three weeks because of withdrawals from the steroids – he’s only been to school twice in the past two months,” Marcos said. “For every day he misses, he gets an hour’s worth of tutoring. Luckily he’s a really smart kid.”
The Requenas are appreciative of the community support through prayers and fundraisers for their son. As a way to give back, Marcos, who is a DJ, is organizing an “Acoustics for Childhood Cancer Tour,” to raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer.
Dates and locations include:
• Dec. 13, Rayz Café, Genoa.
• Dec. 20, Snuffy’s Reloaded, Bradner.
• Dec. 28, Pub 51, Northwood.
• Jan. 11th Jojo's Nite Club, Woodville.
• Jan. 18, Little Bar on the Prairie, Fremont.
• Jan. 25, Portage Inn, Elmore.
All performances will start at 8 p.m. There will be 4-6 musicians at each event playing 30-40 minute sets. Musicians scheduled to perform include Barney Freeman, Dos Dudes, JoMo from Ego and the Maniacs, Rockoustic, Sean Monroe, Rudy Guyton, Joel Kyle Starkey, Light Horizon, Aaron Mctacoburger Kimmet, Sean Sean Allen Michael Williams and Mike Risner.
The Mainstreet Bar fundraiser, organized by Kelly Rosner, a co-worker of Marcos’ from BP Refinery raised about $1,300. Those who would like to make donations may do so at the Huntington Bank in Woodville (for deposit into the Connor Requena fund), or online through “Connor’s Crusaders” at www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/connor-s-crusade/108568.
A fundraiser featuring local bands and headliner Chuck Mosley – former front man for Faith No More – raised funds to help defray medical expenses for 10-year-old Connor Requena, of Woodville, who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.