MUSCATINE, Iowa — Two-year-old Hayden Daufeldt's parents, Cory and Kendra Daufeldt, say he is keeping in good spirits. Two separate groups in the community are set on supporting the family through their difficult time.
After being sick with what doctors thought was a cold or viral infection, Hayden was diagnosed in November with pineblastoma, a malignant tumor of the pineal gland in the brain. While doctors are confident a surgery successfully removed 95 percent of the rare form of cancer, Hayden still receives chemotherapy in Iowa City and may undergo proton therapy, a fairly new and innovative form of radiation treatment, that would be done in Houston, Texas.
"It's a treatment we're still looking into," Cory said. "The University of Iowa doesn't do it yet. It's safer for small children with brain tumors."
But time off work and travel costs add up. Two separate groups of friends have set their sights on making the financial ramifications of Hayden's condition a little easier to bear.
"I've worked with her for years and I babysat Hayden. I'm kind of like a pseudo grandma to him. We have to help our own," said Candy Smalley, who works at the Hy-Vee in Muscatine with Kendra. "Our store director is totally on board with everything."
The group calls themselves Hayden's Heros and have so far raised more than $2,400.
"They need all the help they can get and anything we can do for them is appreciated," Smalley said.
The fundraising started with lunches just for the Hy-Vee employees. The soup lunch held Jan. 9 raised $407. The next idea was a bake sale a week later and it raised close to $1,700.
"We're going to try to get another bake sale scheduled for the 27th of March, just before Easter, and have homemade noodles," Smalley said. "We're putting together T-shirts and are trying to get yard signs for people to buy. We've got a lot of plans and the community has been fantastic."
Hayden's Heros is planning a benefit for 2-6 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at the American Legion and will serve Hy-Vee's barbecue pulled pork meals with raffles and a 50/50 drawing.
If you can't wait that long, the group Headbangers for Hayden is hosting a large benefit this Saturday 4 p.m.-midnight at the bowling alley at 1411 Grandview Ave. with catering by A Guy and a Grill. Live music will be played by The Hong Kong Sleepover, CornFed Bruiser, Seven Shy and HeavyWeight. The event will feature a 50/50 raffle, more than 35 silent auction items and 75 raffle prizes.
Past fundraisers through Headbangers for Hayden have included funds raised through Buffalo Wild Wings sales and the sales of Headbangers t-shirts and bracelets.
"We're hoping to be there, it all depends on Hayden," said Cory, who also added that another friend is planning a comedy night fundraiser 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at Boonie's on the Avenue, 214 Iowa Ave.
"It's all overwhelming and unexpected," Cory said.