Lisa Wang and her son, Jack, age 5, who was diagnosed with Batten’s disease in October, enjoys a moment together during a benefit on behalf of the Wang family on Saturday, March 4 in Malcom. The benefit raised more than $58,000. Batten’s disease is a very rare and rapidly progressing brain disease. It is an inherited disorder that primarily affects the nervous system. It is a fatal disease and there is no cure.
By J.O. Parker
Folks came dressed in “Attack 4 Jack” shirts with hearts of compassion and open pocketbooks to help the family of a 5-year-old Brooklyn boy who is fighting for his life.
Jack Wang, the son of Mike and Lisa Wang, was diagnosed in October with NCL2, also known as Batten’s disease, a very rare and rapidly progressing brain disease. It is an inherited disorder that primarily affects the nervous system. It is a fatal disease and there is no cure.
An estimated 320 people filed into the Malcom American Legion Hall on Saturday, March 4 for a benefit meal and auction held on behalf of Jack, who is in preschool at BGM Elementary School.
Attendees enjoyed a pork meal with all the fixings followed by a gun raffle and silent and live auctions. By the end of the evening, more than $58,000 was raised for the Wang family.
Everything was donated from the meal to the auction items and even the auctioneers gave their time. And American Legion members gave all their tips from the bar to help the family. All the funds from the event go to the Wang family.
“We just appreciate what everyone has done for our family,” said Lisa of the benefit for her son. “I know Jack is very appreciative, even though he can’t say it.”
“It’s great seeing the community come together to help this family,” said Tonya Kuntz, who was at the benefit with her husband and two children.
Angie Thompson recalled when a benefit auction was held for her family in 2006 after her husband had a heart attack. Since then, Thompson has been donating to auctions and volunteering her time to help other families. She said it is the best gift she can give.
“It was very rewarding what the community did for us,” said Thompson. “It’s very rewarding to give back to the community that helped us years ago.”
“It’s always an honor to be an auctioneer at these benefits,” said Brady McClenathan, one of three auctioneers at the benefit. “It never surprises me what a small community can do for a family in need.”
Shannon Arment, Jack’s preschool teacher at BGM, said Jack is a sweet, loving and happy boy.
“His smile will melt your heart and his laugh and giggles are contagious,” Arment said in an earlier interview.
Arment said Jack loves animals, especially farm animals, and his favorite song is “Old MacDonald.”
“His face lights up when you sing it to him,” said Arment. “He loves listening to music and watching any Disney movie. He enjoys listening to books especially books with animals. He also likes playing with dinosaurs and going to the zoo. Jack loves seeing his friends at school and gets excited when they come up to him and greet him. His friends love seeing him, too.”
“We are so appreciative when a small town comes together,” said Chelsey Plants, who helped organize the benefit.
“Daniel McCammant, who was at the benefit in support of the family, said it was great seeing everyone come together for Jack and his family.
“Thank you to the community for supporting this family in their time of need,” said John McCammant, who helped with organizing the benefit and auction. “It’s amazing.”
“I’m used to doing for others,” said Jack’s mother, Lisa. “All of this is so heartwarming.”
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