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Jacob Ferch, a new student at Starbuck Middle School, was recently diagnosed with cancer. Katie Cranley, a Diagnostician/Program Support Teacher at Racine Unified School District, has created a Meal Train to help. The goal is to raise $5,000 and to provide meals for the family. She hopes to alleviate stress. So. far, $2,760 has been submitted.

She says, “this road will not be easy, and we want to do everything we can so his family can be there for him. Jacob’s recovery should be their primary focus. We want to see our guy back on his feet and brightening up our lives once again.”

Ferch Struggles with Unknown Symptoms

Before transitioning to middle school, he attended Red Apple. For the past year, during school, he struggled with nausea and significant weight loss. Unable to find a cause, the 11-year-old began dealing with disorientation, depth perception and walking. Due to his considerable amount of weight loss, doctors accredited symptoms to it.

However, when Ferch’s mother took him for a haircut, multiple cysts on his head were found. This confirmed that the problems he was facing were not just gastrointestinal issues.

An MRI discovered a tumor that took up more than 25% of his brain. On September 8, at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Ferch had a 17.5-hour surgery to remove the problematic tumor. During the surgery, he required two blood transfusions due to significant blood loss.

About Ferch’s Diagnosis

Cranley has posted updates on the Meal Train page here. She announced that on September 10, the tissue samples confirmed the tumor is Anaplasticependymoa. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Anaplastic ependymoma is a type of ependymoma, which is a tumor that forms when cells in the central nervous system (including the brain and spinal cord) begin to multiply rapidly. An ependymoma is anaplastic if the cells grow very quickly and are significantly unusual in shape.”

Doctors discharged Ferch on September 14 from the hospital. In the meantime, he will continue Physical and Occupational Therapy at a Children’s Hospital Clinic in Kenosha. Doctors predict that the young teenager will struggle with left side weakness, mobility difficulties, and possible vision issues due to an accident slice in the brain.

Continuing the Fight

Since surgery, he has been tumor-free. The journey to fighting cancer is not over. Cranley states that Ferch will begin radiation therapy. In addition, the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has reached out to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennesee, for a second opinion. They confirmed that they would treat him due to the rare form of his cancer based on his tissue samples. 

Donations Needed

Read additional updates about his recovery here. Volunteers are needed to make or take meals to the Fetch family. Sign up for taking a meal to the family by clicking here.

Meals should feed two adults and three children. The family has no known dietary restrictions. The preferred delivery time is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. each day.

Questions about the meal train can be directed to Katie Cranley here.

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