Hurlock hosts benefit for local child with cancer

MD-benfit for kaylie 2x-120915

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Kaylie Jeanniton, 5, seated left, is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia with treatment by doctors at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. She attended the Dec. 6 benefit at the Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company along with, from left, her father Fritz Jeanniton, mother Tinerra Baine, and 15-year-old sister Tania who attends North Dorchester High School.

HURLOCK — Martha Kral loves to do benefit fundraisers for those who need community support. And she put together a doozie last week. On Dec. 6 from noon to 7 p.m. Martha and a large group of volunteers held a Spaghetti Supper at the Hurlock Volunteer Fire Company to benefit 5-year-old cancer victim Kaylie Jeanniton. “I’m used to doing fundraisers,” Martha said, “but by gosh this group is doing so much I can take a break and just sit down. And I feel guilty about it!”
The event included a silent auction, bake table, and tons of spaghetti, salad, and bread.
During the day most guests ordered carry-outs but as evening approached more people sat at the long tables and visited with each other.

Hurlock residents Michelle and Earl Murphy often volunteer to help those in need. During the benefit Michelle said, “It’s so nice to see a community come together.” Earl praised Martha for “being in charge as the behind-the-scenes person. She’s the glue that put it all together.” Laughing, Martha responded, “only the food part, others did the rest.” In only two weeks the event gathered volunteers, donations, a location, and even a Facebook page.

Martha and the Murphys were surprised that so many people came early to help. Earl said, “There were so many we had six people cutting vegetables. One volunteer, Terry, asked what he could do and Martha said he could ‘stir the sauce.’ He stood for hours stirring and when I asked if he was tired, he answered, ‘no, when I get tired I just switch arms.’”

Around 2 p.m. Kaylie, her mother, father, and older sister arrived and were immediately surrounded by well-wishers. Her dad, Fritz Jeanniton, said Kaylie is in stage 2 of her treatment and receives chemotherapy, plasma, blood, and platelet transfusions to build up her immune system. He said Kaylie and her mom, Tinerra Baine stay overnight during their trips to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore but he cannot because of his job at Perdue in Salisbury.

Asked how she feels, Tinerra said, “I’m doing well. I’m a little tired but I have to keep pushing on for my daughter’s sake. Right now we’re at Hopkins for a minimum of once a week and in a couple more months we’ll be doing five days a week. I send her to school on the days she’s able to go but on some days she can’t go because either she’s not feeling well or she can’t be around a kid that’s sick.” She says the school teachers and staff have been exceptionally helpful. “The teachers call and let me know if there is anyone sick and they’ll excuse her. I’m so overwhelmed by all the support I have. People are coming from near and far and I really appreciate it.” Her eyes welled up and she choked back tears as this young mother expressed her gratitude, “It makes me feel like I’ve got somebody behind me.”

The event plus contributions from an Easton church and a fund that benefits cancer patients raised $3,100 to help pay for the family’s expensive travel to and from Baltimore.

This small Eastern Shore town in north Dorchester is rapidly gaining a well-deserved reputation for supporting those in its midst who need help. And it is accomplished by volunteers who raise their hands and pitch in when asked.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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