Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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March 11, 2014

Fighting for life

Benefit rodeo set up for Aaron Jenkins

Athens — Family and friends have rallied around 20-year old Aaron Jenkins.

Three weeks ago Jenkins, a Mabank resident and former Trinity Valley Community College student, was diagnosed with liver cancer.  

Aaron's Aunt Sheila Guill said, “He's pretty sick, but Aaron has a high pain tolerance and doesn't complain.”

He is currently being treated at the University of Texas at Tyler Medical Center.

“They sent him home with morphine,” Guill said.

Aaron's best hope is to get admitted into M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said Guill.

“The problem is Aaron is not insured. The family has signed up for the Affordable Care Act, but the insurance policy will not go into effect until April 1,” Guill said. “Aaron needs immediate medical attention.”

Up until two weeks ago, Aaron, a 2012 Mabank graduate, was a student at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens.

“Because of his illness he had to drop out of college,” said Guill.

After battling what Aaron thought was a case of the flu, he saw a local doctor at Cedar Creek Lake.

The doctor noticed something wrong with Aaron's blood work and sent him to the hospital. Eventually the hospital performed an Ultrasound and found a mass in his liver.  

The family said he can not hold down food.

“He is losing weight drastically,” said family friend Michelle White.

White said the family is considered low income.

Guill said, “They will do what they have to and get help for Aaron.”  

Guill said Aaron has applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is the term used for Social Security Disability. According to Guill he has been turned down twice for SSI. The family is at a loss as to where to turn for help.

“If his SSI would get approved his mother would leave immediately for MD Anderson,” she said.

Guill said the family is just looking for help for their son.

Congressman Jeb Hensarling's office has been asked to step in on behalf of Aaron to obtain SSI benefits.  

Sarah Rozier, Communication Director for Congressman Hensarling office told the Athens Review the congressman’s office was aware of the situation.

Rozier said the paper work has been filed on behalf of Mr. Jenkins.

Rozier said their office will be in contact with the family.

“We have indicated to the right departments the emergency nature of the case,” said Rozier.

Even if Aaron can get SSI benefits or insurance and extensive treatment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center there are still other expenses to consider, such as travel expense and just daily living expenses.

Friends of the Jenkin's family have planned a benefit for Aaron called 'I Ride For Aaron'. The fundraiser is being referred to as a 'Benefit Play Day For Aaron Jenkins.'

The event is sponsored by CAMO, Christian Area Ministry Outreach. The playday will be held on Saturday, March 22 at the Andrew Gibbs Memorial Arena in Mabank. Books open at 10 am. Events start at 12 p.m. Exhibition and event fees are by donation.

The entertainment will include Beverly Crocker, Chris Weiss Band, John Randolph, Heritage Trail Cowboy Church Band, Sanctum Worship and Bonnie Jean Barak.

There are plans for clover leaf, pole, straight away and kids events such as goat dressing, stick horse clover leaf, stick horse flag race.

The organizers of the event said there will be a concession stand with 'Jeremy's' famous burgers. The event will include bounce houses, bake sale, silent auction, face painting and more.

An account has been set up at First State Bank in Mabank for monetary donations. Donations can be made to:  Aaron Jenkins Benefit Fund, First State Bank Mabank,  201 S. 3rd Street, Mabank, 75147.

For information on the play day or how you can help Aaron contact Floyd White 903-887-1148 or Steven Vansickle at 903-288-0751. Inquires can be emailed to CAMP2807@gmail.com.

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