Christian music filled the air as a crowd formed in front of the Galion Middle School Thursday evening. The community was coming together to support one of their own with a candlelight vigil.
In Columbus at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Galion Middle School principal Jennifer Allerding and her husband Tim held candles of their own as they stayed by the bedside of their only child, Kaden, who will be two in July.
Kaden, who has been battling hydrocephaly since he was born, was recently diagnosed with cancer.
“Kaden had been vomiting so Jen took him to the doctor. They did an MRI and found a tumor on his brain,” said Kaden’s maternal grandfather, Don Blocker, who attended the vigil with his wife and Kaden’s grandmother, Sue.
Don said surgery was performed to remove the tumor.
“They think they got it all and there was less bleeding than the doctors thought there would be,” Don said. “When Kaden came out of surgery, he said three words, ‘juice, binky and mommy’”.
Don said in the coming weeks, Kaden will be undergoing testing to gauge whether or not he has cancer cells in his blood.
“He will be starting chemotherapy soon and will be in the hospital at least six months,” Don said as tears streamed down his face.
Kaden’s paternal grandparents, Joe and Debra Allerding, were also at the vigil that was organized by Cindy Voss, Rev. Paul Walter, middle school science teacher Mandy Kent and several others.
“This is beautiful. I am video recording it for Tim and Jen who are participating from Kaden’s hospital room. The outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming. Everybody here is amazing,” Debra said.
Kent said Jennifer Allerding has orchestrated many events to help Melanie Walker, a sixth-grader at the middle school who is battling cancer.
“Jen does so much to support others so we wanted to hold this vigil to show our support for her, Kaden and their family,” Kent said.
Walter, the lead pastor at Grace Point Church in Galion, led the vigil while pastors Ash Welch from St. Paul’s United Methodist, Rick Maddox from Galion Alliance Church and Joe Stafford of Wesley Chapel also led prayers throughout the evening.
“We gathered as a community to pray because we know the ultimate help comes from the Lord,” Welch said.
Seventh graders Sydney Eckert and Alyssa Sallee came to support their principal.
“She is our principal and we feel bad she is going through all of this. We know a lot of people that have had cancer,” Eckert said.
Sallee said she has met little Kaden.
“He is the cutest, sweetest kid. We want him to beat this,” Sallee said.
Reach Gasuras on twitter: @kimberlygasuras