Center hosts fundraiser for student with cancer
Alexis Jones, 12, of Tamaqua, arrives with her parents, Janet and William Jones, at a fundraiser at Cope Childcare and Learning Center in Tamaqua. The center held the fundraiser to help Alexis with expenses in her treatment for ovarian cancer. JOHN E. USALIS/TIMES NEWS
Emily Kohlmeir, center, of Quakake, best friend of Alexis Jones, gets help from her parents, Jennifer and Kevin Kohlmeir, with her homemade bracelets made for the fundraiser to assist her friend with her medical problems.
“At the end of every rainbow is great family and friends!”
Those words on a sign hanging at the Cope Childcare and Learning Center in Tamaqua show that the message is taken to heart at the center that held a recent fundraising event to assist a student with a serious medical condition.
The student is 12-year-old Alexis Jones, daughter of William and Janet Jones of Tamaqua, who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Alexis comes to the center after her classes at the Tamaqua Area Middle School for the center’s after school program.
The fundraiser on Monday included a Chinese auction with 97 donated theme baskets and gift cards, along with a bake sale with lots of homemade goodies. The donations came from local businesses, restaurants and independent consultants. There were also vendors, including LuLaRoe, Tupperware, Scentsy and Thirty-One, attending who donated all proceeds to the family.
The fundraiser was organized in five days to coordinate with the center’s “Meet the Teachers Night” that had been scheduled previously.
It was a busy evening at the learning center as co-owner Rosanna Cope, staff and volunteers got everything ready before the doors opened for the open house. Setting up tables and displays, getting the auction tickets ready, and other things kept everyone hopping.
“She is such a sweet girl,” Cope said of Alexis. “Alexis is amazing. When she is here, Alexis helps with everybody, even the little kids. She is such an amazing person. As an example, when she went to the hospital and stayed there a couple of days and they made a pillowcase for her. When she came home, the first thing she did, started making pillowcases here to give to the hospital. That’s the kind of person she is. Even though she’s going through something, she’s looking after others. This is the kind of person we want to help.”
Cope and her staff put the fundraiser together in just five days.
“We found out on (Oct. 12) about the diagnosis and we wanted to do something to help,” Cope said. “It has been such an amazing outpouring from the community. It’s amazing how much a small community can get together.”
The fundraising goal was set at $2,500, and the response to help was so great that $957 was donated in the first two days.
“We’re off to a great start,” Cope said.
Morgan Jones of Tamaqua was one of the first to purchase auction tickets. “I wanted to donate because they’re great people,” Jones said. “They’re the kind of people who would give the shirt off their back to help. I just wanted to make sure I was here to help them out. They’re special people all around.”
Emily Kohlmeir of Quakake is Alexis’ best friend, both attending sixth grade at Tamaqua Area. Emily sat at a table with her parents, Kevin and Jennifer Kohlmeir, selling homemade bracelets that she and Alexis made.
“I’ve known Alexis for about two years,” Emily said. “She can be funny and she’s very nice.”
“And talkative,” Jennifer Kohlmeir said. “(Alexis) was making bracelets with us over the weekend for Lehigh Valley Hospital. And prior to this she made bracelets for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. She attended a fundraising event at the YMCA and raised over $300 as a donation.”
The success of the event was easy to see. Within 15 minutes after the doors opened, the building was filled with people. The line to purchase tickets became so long that a second station was set up to help alleviate the wait as much as possible.
The Jones family arrived about 20 minutes after the fundraiser started and they were amazed at the turnout. Alexis had a big smile. Janet Jones said Alexis was at Lehigh Valley Hospital that day, with another visit scheduled for Oct. 17.
On Sept. 29, Alexis had an 11-inch mass that was removed as well as the ovary, part of the bowel and the small intestine, her parents said.
“They operated on Friday and she was out on Tuesday. She walked out of the hospital,” William Jones said.
Janet Jones was amazed at the outpouring of support at the center.
“This is amazing,” she said. “Bill was at our church (First United Methodist Church) in Mahanoy City and they had a huge bake sale. Eight tables full and they did really, really well. The community outpouring has been wonderful.”
The Methodist Church in Mahanoy City is also holding a pork and sauerkraut dinner for Alexis on Election Day, with proceeds going to the family.
The response to the fundraiser far exceeded the $2,500 goal.
“We raised a total of $3,531,” Rosanna Cope said. The total includes the donations received last week.
The “Let’s Help Alexis” event posted on Facebook is still open until the end of the month. Anyone who could not attend Monday’s event can still donate.
Monetary donations can be sent to Cope Childcare and Learning Center, 562 W. Penn Pike, Tamaqua 18252, with checks made payable to Alexis Jones. For more information, call 570-225-7058.