Massages to raise funds for Redlands 6th-grader with cancer

Jackson “Jax” Pierce, a student at Redlands Middle School in Grand Junction, undergoes aggressive chemotherapy treatments in Denver.

A fundraiser this afternoon in the Redlands Middle School cafeteria will offer massage for a cause.

Between 3:30 and 6 p.m., Journey for Wellness practitioners Keith Frates and Jill Whinnery will provide 10-minute chair massages, and Christine Gallagher, also of Journey for Wellness, will provide natural health consultations for a suggested donation of $20 each.

All proceeds will benefit the family of Jackson Pierce, a Redlands Middle School sixth-grader who was diagnosed with cancer in late September.

Jackson, who also goes by Jax, has undergone three chemotherapy treatments in Denver since he came to school one day with a bad stomach cramp. Doctors found tumors in his intestines and other parts of his body, according to school counselor Gwen Eller.

Aggressive treatments and the distance Jackson has to travel to get them left him too weak to attend school, Eller said, and left his parents with expenses from medical bills and from taking time off work.

The school sponsored a bake sale and a junior football team at the school asked for donations for each of its touchdowns.

The Jackson Pierce Cancer Donation fund has been set up at all Wells Fargo Bank branches, and teachers and community members have donated gift cards to the family.

“The family is definitely appreciative. They said sometimes they are overwhelmed with how generous people have been,” Eller said.

Gallagher, who has a son at Redlands Middle School, said they did not know the Pierce family, but she was moved to help them after the school sent a letter to parents detailing Jackson’s condition. Gallagher said anyone is welcome to attend the fundraiser. It includes a bake sale and cookie exchange, pizza slices for sale and gift items people can bring with a price tag and sell as donations to the family.

“This is a stressful time of year for people on a lot of levels,” Gallagher said. “(At the fundraiser) they can have a little treat and help a wonderful cause.”


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