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Local business plans benefit for cancer patient

A Chesapeake business will host a benefit Saturday for a young cancer patient.

Jill’s Tumble World is planning a benefit for Drew Powers, a 4-year-old boy from Barboursville who is battling neuroblastoma, an aggressive pediatric cancer.

The boy is feeling well and plans to attend the benefit, Jill Stapleton, owner of Tumble World, said.

“His white blood cell count is up, so we’re hoping to have a good evening for him,” Stapleton said. “Whatever we make will go to him. Anything to offset the medical expenses.”

The center usually has an open gym every weekend when children can come and play.

This week’s benefit will be similar, but Stapleton has also invited a few praise and worship singers to sing at the event.

Drew’s aunt, Jessica McGuire has a daughter who participates in activities at Tumble World. McGuire mentioned her nephew’s condition to Stapleton, who immediately wanted to help.

“We’re all blessed with healthy kids,” Stapleton said. “It just kind of puts things back in perspective.”

Stapleton has organized a prayer chain for the boy, asking the cheerleaders to spend 15 minutes each week in prayer for him.

A message went up on the business’s website and since then, Stapleton has received several messages for friends and strangers alike that have said that they are praying for Drew.

“We’ve been surprised at the outcome that we’ve gotten,” Stapleton said, adding that she does not doubt that prayers are a help to the boy.

His aunt agreed.

“I think the prayer has helped the family,” McGuire said. “And he is feeling good through the chemo.”

Drew was diagnosed in September 2008. A scan in August 2009 showed that Drew was cancer-free, but the illness returned in December.

Drew is part of a trial treatment plan. If his tumors have shrunken enough at the end of his chemotherapy treatment, doctors plan a stem cell transplant.

A match for Drew has already been identified, McGuire said.

The business is also rationing off tickets to a spa. Tickets will be on sale at the benefit.

“We just want everyone to come out and support Drew,” Stapleton said.

The Praise and Tumble benefit for Drew Powers will be 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The cost is $5 for both parents and children.

More information about Tumble World can be found at http://www.tumbleworld.com/