Fundraiser events for Sparwood infant

A dinner and auction will be hosted to raise funds for Jackson Keller, a baby born premature who required extensive medical attention.

Jackson Keller is almost three months old and has two loving parents who won’t leave his bedside.

That’s because Jackson was born premature at only 24 weeks and weighed just 1.3 pounds. For the last few months, he has been placed in an incubator and required many machines to keep him alive.

Tamarra Pryhitko, a close friend of Jackson’s mom Stephanie and a former classmate of his father Pat, chose to step up and organize a spaghetti dinner and online auction to raise funds for the dedicated parents who have been staying with their son at a hospital in Calgary since his birth on October 23.

“If I was in that situation I don’t think I could leave that baby’s side,” said Pryhitko. “So I thought if I could try and raise the money to alleviate some of that financial burden of having to stay and reside in Calgary so they could have each other and have that support I wanted to try and make it as easy as I possibly could.”

Pryhitko’s fundraising efforts will include two seatings of a spaghetti dinner on Sunday, January 18 at the Sparwood Senior Drop-In Centre; the first at 4:30 and the second at 6:30 p.m.

“Ticket sales have been amazing I think we only have just over 20 tickets left collectively between the two sittings and they still seem to keep flying out the door as we get closer,” said Pryhitko who should be contacted for the sale of the remaining tickets.

Pryhitko has also organized an online auction through the Facebook page Baby Jackson Auction. Over 100 items donated from across the province will be available for purchase beginning January 20 at 6:30 p.m. for a time span of 48 hours.

Up for auction are trip packages, gift certificates, hockey pucks from the Ghostriders, jackets donated by the Gear Hub and much more.

“You name it, we got it,” said Pryhitko who was also moved by the amount of people willing to donate cash as well as items for the auction.

“The response has been overwhelming. It is a smaller community and many people who donated to the auction were born and raised here but no longer live here. So the second they found out about Jackson, even if they don’t reside here anymore, they wanted to contribute.”

Pryhitko said she has received donations from Pincher Creek, Kelowna, Edmonton and beyond.

“The response has been so humbling,” said Pryhitko. “Collectively we are looking to raise approximately $10,000 if not more.”

For now, baby Jackson’s health has seen great improvement since his premature birth.

“He had a fight and he had a struggle,” said Pryhitko, “but he is doing very well and has been taken off a lot of things that were helping him like a ventilator and feeding tube and now weighs four pounds.”

She added, “He still has a few hurdles to jump over but we are very optimistic.”