A family-style carnival, intended to offset a young Moore family's soaring medical bills, is scheduled Saturday in north Oklahoma City.
It's for Nathan Butler, 5, who is being treated for a rare form of childhood cancer.
A friend of the family, Amanda Wright, said the benefit will be in the parking lot of the Billygoat Moto Cult motorcycle club at 13505 Railway Drive, in Oklahoma City, just west of the railroad tracks near Memorial and Broadway. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wright said Nathan is being treated for neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that develops from nerve tissue. He was diagnosed with the condition in May after being ill and experiencing extreme pain in his knees.
His parents are Stephanie and John-Henry Butler. Stephanie remembers when they got the news back in May.
“You're just frozen,” she said. “You can't even comprehend it. But you see it in the eyes of nurses and others. All you can think about is your baby is sick.”
Faced with the new reality, the family has forged ahead with rounds of chemotherapy and hospital stays. They're preparing for an extended stay at The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center as Nathan undergoes a stem-cell transplant.
Through it all, the child's attitude has been great, his mother said.
“He doesn't complain. He smiles,” she said. “The other day he rode his big wheel bicycle out of the hospital. He's amazing and he's a fighter.”
The family, which also includes son Lukas, 2, does have medical insurance. John-Henry is a nurse, but Wright said the mounting medical costs, even with insurance, are “devastating” to the family's finances.
The fundraiser Saturday includes a motorcycle show, silent auction, inflatables, children's activities and food. Wright is hoping to make at least $2,000 from the day.
Wright didn't know the Butler family very well until this event. Her son Thayden went to school in Moore with Nathan, and their teacher lives in the same neighborhood. Now Wright is one of the leading advocates in helping the Butlers.
“They are a very deserving family,” she said.
Stephanie Butler calls the response from Wright and others “very humbling.”
“I didn't expect such kindness,” she said. “The support and love has been great.”
How to help
Those unable to attend the carnival can still help the Butler family by donating to a special fund set up at any Bank of Oklahoma location under the “Nathan Butler Fund.” Or call Wright at 474-4122.