CHURCH HILL — Family and friends of Darren Leonard have joined forces to host a spaghetti dinner to benefit the Leonard Family. Darren is a 9-year-old student at Church Hill Elementary who has been battling cancer his whole life.
Friends describe Darren as a fun, giraffe-loving, energetic boy, whom everyone adores.
Diagnosed with cancer at birth, a recent MRI has shown growth in his original tumor and two new spots. The Leonard Family will have to travel back and forth to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore several times in the upcoming weeks. Friends hope through the fundraiser to help defray some of the costs associated with the illness.
“This is not your average dinner,” said Dreama Jester. “Be prepared to be spoiled for a cause.”
The dinner is planned for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 26, at the Price Community Center, with appetizers served at 6:30 p.m.
The sit-down dinner will include appetizers, homemade meatballs and spaghetti and bread, along with homemade dessert and drinks. There will also be a 50/50 raffle and door prize drawings. The fundraising team hopes to sell 120 tickets for the April 26 event.
Tickets are $30 per person for adults, $15 for children 12 and under. To purchase tickets email firstname.lastname@example.org. The group has chosen to accept payment via Venmo cash app because it does not charge fees and the Leonard Family will receive 100 percent of the donations.
Darren’s mom Lauren Leonard recently shared they learned that Darren’s tumor is b-raf positive, news that means new treatment is now available to target his tumor.
“By the grace of God,” said Leonard, “we met a new neurologist at (A.I.) duPont who happens to specialize in oncology! Before we ever knew that his tumors had progressed, our neurologist (of 9 years) had recommended we be followed by this new neurologist who specializes in oncology.”
The next step involves more scans and trials of oral medication, but “for now,” said Leonard, “we continue to pray.”
“This is a step in the right direction, but we haven’t even really put our shoes on yet for the journey ahead,” she said. “God has covered us with so much peace, and love, a feeling that is hard to put into words. We know that God has His hand on all of this, we can see Him paving a way, where there was once no way.”