Donations needed for 5-year-old cancer patient

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 4, 2012



LAPLACE — The lives of 5-year-old LaPlace resident Nicholas Hooge and his family changed dramatically a little more than a month ago, when a routine doctor’s visit revealed something to be very wrong.

A malignant brain tumor known as medulloblastoma was detected after Hooge began complaining of unbearable headaches, prompting a visit to the doctor. The family discovered that Hooge would need immediate surgery and specialized treatment thereafter to fight an illness that nobody saw coming, an illness that inspires dread.

But such a thing can also inspire kindness and generosity in the hearts of others. Already, many in the community have reached out to the Hooge family to offer a helping hand.

One of those people is Annette Dillon, a neighbor of the Hooges, who has helped to lead fundraising efforts to help with the family’s medical expenses as they stay in Memphis; Hooge is currently undergoing treatment at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“They’re not even able to work right now,” said Dillon of Hooge’s parents, Mike and Yvette. “They’re only covered for 12 weeks at their jobs, and he’ll be in Memphis for the next eight weeks for sure. He has a six-month protocol, facing radiation and chemotherapy.”

Fundraising efforts back home have gone well. A two-day bake sale at St. Joan of Arc church, held after morning Masses, raised over $3,400; the items did not have a set price, as donations of any amount were accepted in exchange.

“The people at St. Joan of Arc know him, and so many of the kids know him from school, swimming and playing baseball at LARAYO … people were very generous,” said Dillon, who helped with the event.

Dillon and her husband have been able to help raise $1,000 on their own through fundraising efforts at their work and in the neighborhood.

“One of his co-workers made a plate of brownies, and that one plate make $77,” she said.

LARAYO, where Hooge plays baseball and swims, has raised money as well, with donation cups that have been available at athletic events.

And there will be a “give-back” night at Chili’s on Airline Highway in LaPlace on Wednesday, July 11. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on that night, anyone who specifies they’d like to donate will see 10 percent of their tab earmarked for the fundraising effort.

Hooge’s surgery was a success, but his fight isn’t over. He needed a ventilator in the surgery’s aftermath, but at the moment requires a feeding and breathing tube.

He is improving, though.

“When I last saw him, he was able to wave hello,” said Dillon.

Dillon said the Hooge family has been moved by the compassion and caring the community has shown.

“It’s an overwhelming time for them. It was a shock. Nobody had reason to see it coming,” said Dillon. “But they’re both so touched by the outpouring of support from everyone.”

For anyone who would like to give a donation, the Hooge family has set up an account has been set up at Capital One Bank. Donations will be accepted by any branch under the Nicholas Hooge donation account. One may also donate by mail to the address: Nicholas Hooge Note for Note Campaign, c/o Annette Dillon, 112 Jordan Court, LaPlace, LA 70068.