Eight-year-old Parker Simpson left and his sister Kenzie meet the Kingston Frontenac Bear who visited the siblings in Toronto. Parker has been battling cancer for the past year and has been in and out of various hospitals. He is currently at Sick Kids Hospital and the Haliburton community has been rallying around him raising funds for the family. PHOTOS SUBMITTED

Community rallies around little boy fighting cancer

By Angelica Ingram

Jan. 24 2017

Parker Simpson is a tough kid.

The eight-year-old has been living in various hospitals for the past year his most recent home being Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

At the beginning of 2016 Parker was diagnosed with Anterior Mediastinal T-Lymphoblastic Lymphoma and since then the cancer has evolved said Parker’s mom Sarah Simpson.

“He was actually cancer free in October but then he relapsed in Novembe r” said Sarah. “We’ve done three rounds [of chemo]. Two rounds have not done anything for him.”

The hope is that Parker can get a bone marrow transplant with the most likely match being either his mom or his dad said Sarah.

While the family is doing all they can for Parker’s health the community of Haliburton is doing all they can to support this family and raise their spirits.

This past weekend there was a family skate day and fundraiser held at the A.J. LaRue arena with proceeds from a bake sale raffle and activities going to support the Simpsons.

The Simpsons which include mom Sarah (nee Burk) dad Devin and daughter Kenzie are currently living in the Ronald McDonald house where they have been since last November.

Sarah who is originally from Haliburton and now lives in Seeley’s Bay has been touched by the support and love from her hometown.

“It’s quite amazing” she said.

In addition to the skating event a group of local individuals has set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money for the family and have organized a Valentine’s dinner and dance event at the Haliburton Legion on Feb. 11.

To date more than $7000 has been raised on the crowdfunding website and nearly all 200 tickets for the Valentine’s event have been sold.

The money raised is going towards helping the family with ongoing expenses and to help them through this time so they can focus on Parker said Brianne Pockett one of the event organizers.

“A group of us got together feeling helpless about what they’re going through and wanted to do what we could on our end” said Pockett. “We created two events one geared more towards kids and one geared more towards adults.”

The group organizing the fundraising include Pockett Brandi Hewson Courtney Wilson Britney Rock and Marita Bagshaw-Schrader.

“People have been amazing” said Pockett. “Businesses have donated stuff and Monte Miscio has donated his services to cook the entire meal [on Feb. 11].”

The Valentine’s dinner will also include a silent auction.

For the past year Sarah has taken a leave from work while her husband has been on leave since last fall so that they can both be by Parker’s side.

A Facebook page has been set-up for Parker where people can post positive messages or send the family thoughts and prayers. Sarah has been posting regular updates on Parker’s health on the page.

With their family and friends living far from Toronto the page has helped keep everyone updated on the situation.

“We’ve been really fortunate to have people come by and drop things off” said Sarah.

The mom said her son is still very much believing he is going to fight the cancer however Parker is getting tired of being in the hospital.

“You can tell that his positivity is starting to wear” said Sarah.

Pockett is thrilled that the community has rallied behind the family and shown their support.

“People are awesome” she said.

Tickets for the dinner/dance are $25 and can be purchased through one of the hosts by searching them on Facebook. Tickets will also be sold for the dance portion of the night starting at 9 p.m. for $10.