During a January ski trip, Helman Elementary School third-grader Jack Hoover Dorr wasn't able to put a glove on by himself.
That got his mother, Helman teacher Trish Dorr, thinking about odd things she had noticed over the previous few weeks — such as the fact her right-handed son had been eating with his left hand.
She took him in to see a doctor, who, after an MRI, told her to take Jack immediately to a Portland hospital.
When: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 19
Where: ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, 1500 E. Main St., Ashland
Auction details: People can bid on the items during the event or write down their bid offers, their contact information, and the name of the item or service they are bidding on and mail bids to Kathleen Kane, 385 Kearney, Ashland OR 97520.
Mail-in bids must be received by April 12.
Items range from a small-bodied acoustic Blue Ridge guitar and other musical instruments to gift certificates, a custom-built bicycle, vacation stays, massages, private music lessons and much more
One week after the ski trip, Jack underwent surgery to remove an aggressive cancerous tumor growing in his spinal column in his neck.
With his mom and little sister, Alex Dorr, by his side, the 9-year-old boy who loves Legos and Star Wars then endured more than two months of radiation, chemotherapy and physical therapy before returning home to Ashland this week.
He must travel back to Portland twice a month for at least the next year to receive chemotherapy infusions as his cancer battle continues.
While the Dorr family was away in Portland, the Helman Parent Teacher Association, friends and community members rallied to organize fundraising events and renovate the Dorr home.
"I feel really humbled by all the work people have been doing," Trish Dorr said. "It takes my breath away."
Among a host of other improvements, community members painted the family's house, built a fence, and turned a home office into a new bedroom for Jack.
He had previously shared a bedroom with his sister, but accessing his top bunk would have been difficult because he's still working to recover motor skills, Trish Dorr said.
Community members also have organized a Jack-a-palooza celebration with live music, a raffle, a silent auction, and food and drinks for sale from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 19, at ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, 1500 E. Main St., Ashland.
The public is invited to attend. There is a suggested donation of $5 per person or $15 per family.
Donations have rolled in for the silent auction, with many local businesses offering gift certificates, and people and businesses donating everything from vacation lodging to massage sessions to musical instruments to a Le Cirque Centre circus birthday party.
"I've been taken aback by the things that are coming in and the scope," said Jessica Leidall, who is in charge of donations and has three children attending Helman Elementary School.
Leidall said Trish Dorr is a committed, enthusiastic teacher who comes up with fun projects for her students, such as having them create video broadcasts where they talk about the weather, profile new students and explore other topics.
"It's wonderful that in such a short period of time, we can get all this done and support the family," Leidall said. "It's not just financial. It's the love, too. We want to show how much we love our teachers and schools. They are really valuable members of our community."
Resident Kathleen Kane, who has a son Jack's age, has been selling bracelets that read "We've got your back, Jack" for a suggested donation of $2.
"I've filled 1,100 orders and have 1,100 more to do," Kane said, noting that many people donate more than the suggested $2. "It's amazing."
Kane said the bracelets have sold as far away as Idaho and the San Francisco Bay Area, in large part because people have such fond memories of Trish Dorr and want to help her family.
"Through the years, she's touched so many lives as a teacher," Kane said.
Local businesses selling the bracelets include Giseppi's, Senior Sams, The Beanery, Today's Dentistry, Earth Friendly Kids, The Crown Jewel, Tree House Books, Small Change, Bug-A-Boo and Patina Soul.
Several of those businesses also have offered gift certificates for the silent auction.
Jack's radiation technicians in Portland have been wearing the bracelets.
On his last day of radiation treatment on Monday, they gave him Star Wars action figures, his mother said.
On other fronts, knitters — both local and far away — have been knitting hats that will be sold at the Jack-a-palooza celebration.
Bridgeview Cavaliers in Brookings donated a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, which has been settling into its new home with the Dorr family.
Petting, combing and playing with the dog will help Jack as he works to regain control over his body, Trish said.
Trish said the outpouring of support from the community has made the medical journey less lonely.
She said her son has been touched by what everyone has been doing.
"Jack is their kid. He definitely feels it," she said.
Anyone interested in selling large quantities of "We've Got Your Back, Jack" bracelets can contact Kathleen Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates and information about fundraising, Jack and donated items for the silent raffle can be found on Facebook by visiting www.dailytidings.com/jackapalooza.
The public can buy tickets for items that will be raffled off at the Jack-a-palooza event in advance at Tree House Books, 15 N. Main St., and Coldwell Banker, 190 Oak St. in Ashland. Purchasers do not need to be present to win raffled items.
People can also bid on the silent auction items without attending the Jack-a-palooza event by mailing in bids. List the amount you are bidding, the name of the item or service, and your contact information and mail it to Kathleen Kane, 385 Kearney, Ashland OR 97520.
Mail-in bids must be received by April 12.
Friends have established a trust fund account through Chase Bank, 243 E. Main St., Ashland.
Donations can also be made at www.dailytidings.com/dorr-donations.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or email@example.com.