“An Incredible sense of community”

Residents, PTO come together to support child fighting cancer.

Parents and members of the Mount Laurel Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) organized a fundraiser at the Laurel House late last month for a 4-year-old boy  recently diagnosed with brain cancer.

Aaron Kline was diagnosed with a malignant tumor that requires intensive treatment,   including high-dose chemotherapy.  Melissa Jost, co-president of the Parkway Elementary School PTO, explained that Aaron’s mother, Shana, wanted to throw a small party, but after discussing the idea with a friend, she decided to create a bigger event to benefit Aaron.

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“(Shana) sent me a text (to ask) if we could plan a small backyard gathering just before (Aaron) gets treatment for chemo,” Jost recalled. “I usually don’t do things on a small scale, and once I had talked to the other mom who was planning the event with me, we decided it should be a community event …  and we just went for it.”

Kline said she initially reached out to organize a celebration with only family and close friends to uplift her son before treatment. But turnout at the larger fundraiser  delighted her son more than she imagined.

“I asked if they could put together something like a sendoff before Aaron starts chemo,” Shana Kline recalled. “All of a sudden, it became this huge event that turned out to be so great for (Aaron) and allowed us to start this whole (treatment) process on a high note.”

The “Aaronpalooza Benefit” was held on Aug. 28. Tickets to the fundraiser were $10 a person and included food trucks, balloon animals, live music, games, face painting and an appearance by Spider-Man. Also present were the local police and fire departments. 

Jost cited the town’s support for the fundraiser’s success.

“We had an amazing turnout,” she remarked. “It was really an incredible sense of community and a very emotional day. The tremendous amount of money that we raised to give to that family was just one of the many things that make this town and community so special.”

Kline expressed gratitude to attendees, including several of Aaron’s teachers and  school and township officials. 

“There’s so many unknowns with this situation, and to see that we have a large community of support means so much to us,” she explained. “Aaron’s teachers and principals were (also at the event) – it was just overwhelming how everyone came together just for us.

“Knowing that we have that much support is really encouraging.”

The generated donations will go directly to Kline’s medical expenses. To donate, visit www.mightyaaron.com. 

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