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Community fundraisers aid local student with Hodgkins Disease

 

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent 

  A young man facing serious health issues has gotten some help recently from a large number of friends in the community.

  DJ Martinez is a college student, a gymnastics and martial arts instructor, and an employee at a local Kroger. He also has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an immune system cancer that typically originates in white blood cells and spreads through lymph nodes.

Volunteers turned out recently to help a local young man with Hodgkins Lymphoma raise money to pay for his rising medical costs.                                           Special photo

  He became ill in late 2012, when it was discovered that he had a mass on each side of his neck and another in his chest. He has gone through chemotherapy and radiation, with a PET scan scheduled for next month to see how successful the treatments have been so far.

  A parent whose children have attended Victory Martial Arts, which is run by DJ’s family, took the initiative earlier this year to organize a series of fundraisers to help them with their mounting medical bills.

  “He’s an impeccable young man,” said Karen Dickson, whose daughter earned a black belt at the studio and whose son attends there now.

  The most recent fundraiser was earlier this month at the Kroger on Jonesboro Road in McDonough, where guests ate hot dogs and, among other things, watched a performance by the Victory Martial Arts demo team, a group of black belts who do choreographed routines with music. DJ is a demo team instructor.

  That event raised about $1,000. A similar fundraiser in early 2013, along with a yard sale in June and a recent car wash, brought in a total close to $3,000.

DJ Martinez waits during a chemotherapy session.                                      Special photo

  The Martinez family has insurance, but the out-of-pocket costs are substantial because of the various treatments DJ has undergone this year, according to Dickson. His father is a manager at Kroger, she said, while his mother runs the after-school program at Victory Martial Arts and also teaches evening classes there.

  While the next course of treatment will not be determined until after the tests are run in January, there has been some discussion of a stem cell transplant and the possibility of traveling to Pittsburgh for that, Dickson said.

  Many of the other families whose members attend Victory Martial Arts participated in the fundraisers in various ways. All of the food and supplies were donated for the most recent event, and Kroger allowed the group to use its space at no charge. Because of this, all of the proceeds are going to the family, according to Dickson, and everyone enjoyed themselves.

  “It was one of the most fun times I’ve had,” she said. “We really had a good time.”

  The family has discussed setting up an account at a local bank to make it more convenient to receive donations. If that happens, or when another fundraising event is scheduled, the Times will share that information with its readers.

 

 

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