REDDING, CA — One cup of hot cocoa at a time, some Redding, California, preschoolers raised $10,000 for their classmate, 4-year-old Jasper Mazzocco, who has been hospitalized since November with a rare brain tumor the size of a tennis ball.
Hundreds of people showed up at the sweet fundraiser, held Friday in front of the Browning Street Trader Joe’s store, according to Jennifer Stephens, Jasper’s teacher at Redding Cooperative Preschool.
“It’s amazing,” Stephens told news station KRCR. “It’s wonderful to see how much people care for people they don’t know. There were stories throughout the day of people who came who were cancer survivors or who had lost children.”
The $10,000 hot cocoa fundraiser brought the total raised in the GoFundMe campaign, set up by Jasper’s family to offset medical expenses, to more than $32,000.
Jasper has been undergoing chemotherapy at University of California-Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento. His mother, Shelby Mazzocco, reported in a recent update on the crowdfunding page that the first MRI since Jasper began treatment shows the tumor is “smaller and less vascular.”
He will need a couple more rounds of chemo before doctors can operate to remove the small, round blue-cell tumor and stop it from spreading to other parts of his brain or spine, she wrote, “but all the doctors say this is the best possible response they could have hoped for.”
So far, the cancer hasn’t migrated to Jasper’s bone marrow or spinal fluid.
Stephens told KRCR the students at Redding Cooperative Preschool are a close-knit group and wanted to help their classmate. They worked with Starbucks, which donated supplies and employees to help serve up the coffee, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which also donated space.
“The families are amazing,” Stephens told the station before the hot cocoa fundraiser, adding that to have a student facing such daunting medical challenges “is the mot devastating thing I’ve ever dealt with in my career.”
Jasper’s mother wrote on GoFundMe the fundraiser was “the most beautiful thing I have ever seen take place in our community.”
“I cannot begin to cover my thank you list,” she continued. “It’s the most amazing, indescribable thing to feel the power of all the love that this 4-year-old inspires. It means everything to us to know that we have the support we need to be by our baby’s side through his fight.”
You can watch some of the cocoa stand action here:
The GoFundMe campaign is still active, and there are other ways to support the family. About half of the 100 “Fight Like Jasper” gray ribbon stickers donated by Brights Engraving and Escape Room have been spoken for, and a Wings of Angels bowling fundraiser is also planned.
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