Cancer fundraiser hits home for Jasper nativeApril 26, 2019
By ALLEN LAMAN
Finn Stallings was pale, tired and feverish — but a welt on his leg signaled that something serious had developed within the then-5-year-old boy.
On a summer day in 2016, his family rushed from Loogootee to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis — close to their home in Noblesville — where a nurse informed them that an oncologist was being called in.
“So, obviously, that’s when things started setting in for us,” Nathan, Finn’s father, recalled in a Wednesday phone interview. “She said, ‘We’re suspecting it’s leukemia, and we’re gonna take some more tests, just to verify our thinking on that.’”
Now 8 years old and healthy, Finn has beat the acute lymphoblastic leukemia that plagued his blood into remission, and he is nearing the end of his required three-year cycle of treatments.
It’s a happy time for the Stallings family. But it’s also a busy one for Dad.
Nathan is a nominee in the Man of the Year contest hosted by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Indiana Chapter. The society’s annual philanthropic competition is a large fundraising effort, and dollars raised by Nathan will benefit the Indiana chapter of the organization.
After being nominated by two members of the state organization’s board, he remembered thinking there was no way he could turn down the invitation.
Born and raised in Jasper and now the president of Matrix Integration, Nathan is one of nine male nominees in the Indiana LLS contest. Six female candidates are also in the running. Both a man and woman of the year will be named when the competition ends on Saturday, May 18.
Those wanting to donate in Nathan’s name can do so online at https://pages.mwoy.org/in/indy19/nstallings.
He admitted the work “has become like a second job,” but he’s grateful for the opportunity he has to make an impact on the lives of children and adults across the globe.
“I think the biggest thing is there’s a lot of generous people out there,” he said of what it’s been like to spearhead a campaign. “So, I think it’s overwhelming from that perspective. Just to feel all that generosity, and that people I don’t even know are donating literally thousands of dollars.”
That money will go toward funding cancer research; helping families in need; and supporting advocacy efforts, patient services, public and professional education and community services.
According to information on the national LLS website, the Man and Woman of the Year fundraiser has raised more than $327 million in its 29-year history.
Nathan said the number of medications approved to treat cancers grew considerably recently — a sign that strides are being made in the quest for cures.
“So, the amount of progress that they’re making, the amount of promising research efforts are increasing,” he said. “And the treatments are increasing. And I think it’s just a matter of time ... it literally is a matter of time before they figure it out and they have something that cures blood cancers.”
Nathan is married to Meghan (LeMond), and the couple has four boys: Parker, 11; Tyler, 9; Finn, 8; and Beckham, 4.
“It’s been humbling,” Nathan said of his fundraising experience. “Just been extremely humbling.”
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