This weekend, a 6-year-old Greenville boy will get to dress like the superhero he is, and celebrate his birthday with the community that has supported him during his difficult cancer battle.
Beckett Roerdink first gained attention two years ago when all he wanted was cards for his birthday. His mom, Melanie, thought they'd receive about 50, but when his wish spread on social media, 25,000 birthday cards ended up being delivered to his mailbox.
Beckett's journey with cancer began about four years ago when he was just 2-years-old. Doctors found a rare tumor called an ependymoma in his brain. He underwent 30 rounds of radiation, and surgeons operated multiple times, but this type of cancer is stubborn.
"There's no cure, you know, so it's just one day at a time," his mom explains.
Doctors have given Beckett a life expectancy of 7-years-old. Melanie says the disease, and the treatment for it, have created chronic problems with her son's vision, speech, and balance. They're issues that cause difficulties as he begins Kindergarten.
"This is his life. You get this at two, you know no different."
Beckett has weekly therapy sessions, plus an MRI every three months to scan for new tumors, and he travels to Texas to see specialists that Wisconsin doesn't have.
"We take him where he needs to go, and the bills keep coming, but that's just life now I guess."
Melanie's friend, Barb Rohr, is trying to ease the burden by organizing a fundraiser called Beckett's 6th Birthday Bash
. She's inviting the entire community to Fox Cities Stadium on Sunday, October 23rd from 12:00pm to 4:00 pm. There will be auction items, such as a BJ Raji signed helmet, a Packers autographed football, homemade blankets, and various gift baskets. Barb hopes the money raised will relieve some of the family of five's stress.
"Just knowing that I can give back a little bit of what they've given me, that's what I'm trying to do," explains Barb.
The party, though, is also a celebration of Beckett's life.
"He's still here with us, and he's six. He's defying the odds, and he's going to," his mom says with her tears in her eyes.
Barb hopes the community support will once again give Beckett and his family the extra boost they need to keep up their continuous cancer fight.
"The community just pulls together in times like this," she says.
Children are encouraged to wear superhero costumes to Beckett's 6th Birthday Bash. They can also make a cape at the event. Other activities include games, balloon animals, face painting, music, and sweet treats. Everyone is welcome to attend, and the event is free.