BRISTOL - The community is raising money for a 4-year-oldâ€™s medical bills after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney cancer.
In September, Liam Vavrek of Bristol had an ultrasound that showed a large mass on one of his kidneys. He was transferred to Connecticut Childrenâ€™s Medical Center for additional testing. That showed the mass was a Wilms tumor - a type of cancer that starts in the kidney.
Vavrek was then diagnosed and will need 25 weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, as well as an operation to remove the tumor, according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for his medical expenses.
The page states that during Vavrekâ€™s medical journey, his parents are unable to work full-time because they need to care for their son post-chemo.
This led the boyâ€™s parents, grandparents, cousins and friends to join together and create â€śTeam Super Liam,â€ť explained Steve Bernier, Vavrekâ€™s grandfather. He added that the team is raising money through multiple channels such as local fundraisers and the GoFundMe page.
â€śWe are all using our expertise to do what we can for him,â€ť Bernier said. â€śIâ€™m trying to do this - because I have to. Him and I are buddies. Right now, in the picture, he looks pretty healthy, but he is going through chemo and basically has no hair. He is doing a good job though, heâ€™s a good sport.â€ť
It also states that when Vavrekâ€™s journey is over and he grows up, he plans to be a firefighter, drive big construction equipment, or be a veterinarian.
â€śThe main thing is that he is going to come through this, but right now, he needs help,â€ť Bernier continued. â€śIf anyone can donate, itâ€™s really appreciated, and if someone canâ€™t, we just ask that they please pray for Liam.â€ť
Funds donated to â€śTeam Super Liamâ€ť will be deposited into an account managed by Vavrekâ€™s uncle and other immediate family members, and will be used to pay medical bills and living expenses to help the family during a stressful time, according to the GoFundMe page.
The goal stated on the GoFundMe page is to raise $75,000 for Vavrekâ€™s medical bills, and so far $8,921 has been donated by 126 people in the past month.
â€śTeam Super Liamâ€ť is also holding a fundraiser for Vavrek that is slated for Dec. 15, at Nuchieâ€™s Restaurant, 164 Central St. from 6 to 10 p.m.
The fundraiser will feature a 50/50 raffle with over $2,000 of donated items that includes televisions, shop vacuums, tools, gift baskets and gift cards, Bernier said, adding that Nuchies will have a reduced price cash bar for the event. Tickets for the fundraiser are $25, and can be purchased by calling Bernier at 860-385-3116.
â€śThe community has been very supportive; almost all of the $2,000 worth of items for the drawings was donated,â€ť Bernier said. â€śAll of the proceeds go right to him, and if people want to come to the fundraiser, we ask that they please buy tickets ahead of time. We encourage anyone to come out and support Liam and his family.â€ť
Donations can also be made online at gofundme.com/teamsuperliam or by writing a check to â€śTeam Super Liamâ€ť to Webster Bank, 575 Farmington Ave.
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-973-5088 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Lorenzo Burgio on Twitter @burgioBP.