Forest, VA - It's a cancer only 30 people in the world get a year, and now a Forest baby has been diagnosed with it. Nine month old Cullen Harris is fighting a long battle with what's called ATRT at St. Jude's Hospital in Tennessee. He was diagnosed at four months old. He had been sick for some time and his mom said his head seemed swollen so she took him to the doctor. From there, Cullen was rushed to the hospital and doctors say if his mom wouldn’t have brought him in, he could have died. Now, five months later he's in a stable condition, but has a long, tough road ahead of him.
Cullen Harris got the last available opening at St. Jude's Hospital in Tennessee. Since his diagnosis in February, he's endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy.
"He is clear right now, it's a very mean and fast grower and they're on top of it," said Betsy Crews who is Cullen's Grandmother.
The next step is 30 rounds of radiation, but that can't start until after he's a year old.
"He'll be put to sleep every day for six weeks," said Crews.
After that six months of oral chemo, and travel back and forth to St. Jude's for follow ups for the next five years.
"He's got a road ahead of him, he does," said Crews.
Cullen's mother has taken leave from her job to care for him.
You do what you have to do for him. It's not about me, it's not about her, it's not about anybody but this baby," said Crews.
That's why support from the community is so important.
"A lot of community support, obviously, this town's amazing anyway," said Crews.
Christine Mosby went to high school with baby Cullen's mom. She even photographed her maternity pictures.
"I just felt a little bit closer to her because of that too," said Mosby.
As she's followed their struggle, she knew she had to do something.
"I just wanted to do something nice for the family, I can't imagine what they are going through," said Mosby.
So she has put together a fundraiser at the Hawaiian Sno Shack in Forest. Tons of people have jumped in to provide music, a bake sale, yard sale, and silent auction.
"Lynchburg is pulling together," said Mosby.
It's an event they hope will bring much needed funds to the family.
"It's been unbelievable how many people have reached out and wanted to help, and it's such a good feeling that everybody, people do care," said Mosby.
"We want him home and well and we'll do whatever it takes to get him that way," said Crews.
The fundraiser is Sunday June 29 at the Hawaiian Sno Shack in Forest. It starts at 1 p.m. and will go until dark. There is also a go-fund- me page for Baby Cullen that has raised more than $8,000 so far. You can link to that here.