The Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club's gala event, Cars in the Park at Boardman Park, officially has a recipient of the proceeds. The club announced this month that 14-month-old Cayden Perry and his family will receive the money to help with medical expenses.
"In all the years I have been doing this, the stories are all the same," said MVOCC member Dee Tripp. "Families want to handle things themselves, but in this economy they have to have some kind of help."
For the Perry family, their situation began about 10 months ago when their baby son began having unusual seizures. When his mother would hold him, she could feel strange vibrations in his back and muscles. They took him to Akron Children's Hospital in Boardman, for evaluation.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club member Dee Tripp greeted members of the Perry family recently at Boardman Park. Pictured is Tripp holding five-year-old Brynna Perry and her father, Joe Perry, holding 14-month-old Cayden, who was selected as this year’s recipient of the Cars in the Park show proceeds.
According to his father, Joe Perry, the local doctors immediately sent him to Akron for tests. Young Cayden spent eight days in Akron where he was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis. Joe said it is a rare disease in which two needed chromosomes in the body are absent. They are the ones needed to fight off tumorous growths. Because of the lack of these chromosomes, young Cayden's body is full of tumors, including on the brain and practically all of his small organs.
"While none are cancerous at this point, the ones around his brain may be causing the seizures," Joe said.
This past April, Cayden was scheduled for exploratory brain surgery in New York City, he said.
Cayden was in the New York hospital from April 8 through 30 and the outcome was better than expected. Joe said the surgery was just to see which tumor was putting pressure on the brain. During the surgery, the opening of the skull cap released some pressure and may have moved the tumor away from the brain. Since that operation Cayden has not suffered any seizures.
"He was a trooper," Joe said. "He did real well and the results were better than we expected."
The surgeon told Joe that Cayden is the eighth patient who has had the seizures disappear after the exploratory surgery.
He said life is tough for a family with two working parents and a special needs child. Having someone at home full time seemed a chore until the next big challenge in the Perry family's life. On May 1, Joe was informed that his job in sales at Coca Cola was being eliminated through a reorganization effort.
"We knew after his surgery that one of us would have to arrange to be at home with Cayden," Joe said, "so that decision was taken out of our hands."
Joe said Coca Cola gave him a severance package that included six months of health insurance. That came in handy since the Perry family didn't yet qualify for any aid. They did get some help with medications through an organization for children. Joe said without the help, the medicine for Cayden would cost around $5,000 per month.
When MVOCC member Bill Cochran learned about the Perry's situation from Joe's uncle who attends the same church, he submitted the family as a nominee for recipient of the Cars in the Park event proceeds. The car club voted and selected them for the 2013 show.
"We'll all be there on Aug. 4 at Boardman Park, even Cayden," Joe said. "At first we were a proud family and wanted to go it on our own, but the support and help is welcomed and appreciated."