Less than a year ago, Justin Roseland was a 4-year-old boy who loved the outdoors and attended preschool.
Memorial weekend of 2017, Roseland, 4, of Seneca complained of belly pain. After tests at Morris Hospital, Justin was taken immediately to Advocate Christ Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn.
Justin was diagnosed with Wilms tumors on both kidneys and began treatment June 1. According to the American Cancer Society, Wilms tumor “is a type of cancer that starts in the kidneys. It is the most common type of kidney cancer in children.”
On Aug. 31, Justin had his left kidney removed and was told he would have to endure five months of chemotherapy treatments as well as radiation.
According to Andrea Roseland, Justin’s grandmother, every three to four weeks, Justin and his father, Nick Roseland, and mother, Shawna Bratcher, travel to Oak Lawn for a five-day inpatient treatment. She said he has a rough week after treatment and sometimes has to make the trek from Seneca back to Oak Lawn due to illness.
Justin’s father, Nick, works as a firefighter for the Seneca Fire Department and works at Inframetals in Marseilles. Shawna had to quit her job as a CNA in order to take care of Justin. With this situation, the department knew they wanted to do something to help the family.
Joe Hacker has a son on the Seneca Fire Department and as a retired firefighter himself; he knew the strong bond of firefighters. He told the department if they wanted to do a fundraiser for the family he would help and was asked to spearhead the Justin Roseland Benefit Dinner and Draw Down.
On March 24 at the Marseilles Lions Club, the pork chop dinner and fundraiser will kick off in order to raise funds to help the family to pay medical expenses as well as travel, lodging and food costs while Justin receives treatment.
“I hope we have a large turnout and raise a lot of money, we are talking about a four-year-old child,” Hacker said. “I couldn’t imagine if I was in Nick and Shawna’s position, seeing my son so sick, treatments and in and out of the hospital.”
One ticket for two people costs $40 and includes food, draft beer, a draw down ticket, live and silent auction, 50/50 raffle and door prizes.
Andrea Roseland said her grandson has taken the treatments pretty well, but accessing and deaccessing his port has proved to be difficult and he has a hard time understanding why he cannot be at home.
She said Justin loves the fire department because of his father and enjoys going to preschool at Seneca High School when able. Justin has a mind of his own; his grandmother said he was very good at telling people what he wants.
“He speaks very well for his age, sounds more like he is 10. Even his nurses noticed,” Andrea said.
Seneca Fire Department Chief Kett Johnson said the fire department has always been in the business to help others and now one of their own has come into need and that was why they took action.
“We work together, our lives depend on what the next guy’s doing, we run into burning buildings together,” Johnson said. “Our ultimate hope is that just gets well and lives a good life. We want to raise these funds so it doesn’t put so many burdens on this family.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Justin Roseland Benefit Dinner and Drawdown
WHEN: March 24 at 4 p.m.
WHERE: Marseilles Lions Club, 511 Commercial St., Marseilles, IL
COST: Tickets can be bought from any Seneca Firefighter, or call 815-357-1600