Play4Jarren Foundation, Childhood Cancer Awareness, Christian Non-Profit, Christian Non-profit Organization, Christian Non-profit Organization of Northwest Arkansas

Play4Jarren: Childhood Cancer Awareness of Northwest Arkansas

When God Writes A Story…

This morning, as with every other morning, I awoke, had my morning sip of coffee, thumbed through Facebook on my iPhone, showered, dressed for work, and upon getting ready to walk out the front door was almost knocked to the floor by the embrace of my soon to be eight-year-old son, Cross.  I received that same joyful and loving embrace from him upon returning home tonight.  However, tonight was a bit different… for me that is.

We parents can so often get caught up and distracted, even stuck in an everyday routine; a routine that seemingly pulls a veil over the eyes of our hearts, blinding us from those things that truly matter most in life.  Then, because the days are evil, the veil that has blinded us for so long is finally raised just in time for us to see our little ones walking across a stage to accept their high school diplomas.

However, something happened to me today.  Or maybe I should say something happened for me today, when sharing in a phone conversation with one of the most courageous women I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing… Donna Sorters.

Play4Jarren, Christian Non-Profit, Christian Non-profit Organizations, Arkansas Christian Non-profits

As she recounts, Donna and husband, Joey Sorters, received news on August 13th, 2015 that no parent ever expects to hear… “Your child has cancer.

The next three weeks were filled with Dr. appointments and tests, followed by further tests and more Dr. appointments.  When all had finally come to an end, Donna and Joey’s son, Jarren, was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma with CIC Dux 4, which is one of the rarest and most aggressive Sarcoma’s identified.  Jarren had a primary tumor on his left foot and two metastasized tumors behind his knee and on his pelvis.

On September 3rd, Jarren began a very aggressive treatment plan which included 10 rounds of chemotherapy (each round ranged from 2-5 days and required hospital admission).

Almost seven months later, having completed 35 rounds of radiation and having had a below-the-knee amputation, on March 30th Jarren’s PET scan would offer no good news to either Jarren or his parents.  The scan revealed that the cancer had spread to his lungs and the current standardized treatment was no longer effective.

The Sorters family would then spend a week at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, where they investigated a radical high dose chemotherapy that would be followed by stem cell transplant.  However, their hopes of the program were quickly diminished after being told that Jarren was unable to produce enough stem cells.

In May they began a Phase I drug trial program, but on June 16th, 2016 they were informed that the trial was ineffective and the cancer in Jarren’s lungs had grown and metastasized to his back and kidneys.  Upon hearing the news Donna and Joey Sorters began seeking hospice care for their fifteen-year-old son.

Over the next eight weeks, Jarren was able to spend time at home with his family and friends, while enjoying what little time he had left.  On August 11th, 2016, Jarren passed away in his sleep.  And exactly one year to the day of discovering Jarren’s cancer, on August 13th, 2016, the community of Prairie Grove, AR gathered to celebrate the incredible life of this young man.

A Life Becomes Legacy!

After Losing Jarren, we knew that could not be the end of our story, and felt strongly God was not finished writing Jarren’s life story as well...”

It is plain to see that God continues to write Jarren’s life story when seeing that the Sorters family established the Play4Jarren Foundation in November of 2016.  Not only so, but in December the foundation was already blessed to make its first impact when it comes to childhood cancer awareness by donating $15,000 to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Oncology Department. Play4Jarren Foundation, Childhood Cancer Awareness, Christian Non-profit, Christian Non-profit Organization

We decided we would establish a foundation in his memory to not only honor his legacy, but to share the love and compassion of Christ shown to us throughout our journey, as well as the hope we have in Christ our Savior.  From the beginning of Jarren’s diagnosis until even now, we have been showered by our family and friends who have chosen to be the hands and feet of Christ.  The love and support given to us is what enabled us to get up daily and keep moving.  As a family we want to share this love, and the hope we have in Christ, with others facing medical adversities and especially those battling childhood cancer, as well as athletes who are facing physical adversities.

The recent donation from the Play4Jarren Foundation will be split between research and the family needs fund, in order to purchase items for patient rooms and family needs on the 4K floor.

Those involved with the Play4Jarren Foundation are now in the process of organizing and setting up various events to raise childhood cancer awareness as well as funds for the foundation itself.  Events already in place include:

  • A “Gold Out” Football Game
  • “No One Fights Alone” Baseball Tournament in September as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

A Legacy Becomes a Foundation…

The Play4Jarren Foundation was not only established to raise childhood cancer awareness, but is based on the idea of impacting the lives of many… incredibly fitting for the young man from which the foundation is named.  It already includes:

  • NOONE FIGHTS ALONE FUND – Promotes education, research and childhood cancer awareness.  However, it also serves to empower families of childhood cancer warriors in their journey, while encouraging others to get in the fight and make a difference for children with cancer.  Noone Fights Alone seeks to fund medical research related to treatment and diagnosis of childhood cancer, especially providing necessities to families struggling with medical issues.
  • 27 FOREVER FUND – Promotes youth development through sports by providing support to aspiring athletes facing physical, medical or financial adversities that keep them off the playing field and on the sidelines.

The Play4Jarren Foundation will also support educational endeavors of young people through its scholarship program.  The foundation seekds to award college scholarships in memory of Jarren to individuals who demonstrate characteristics of compassion, determination, perseverance and love for life.  Scholarship recipients will be selected by a scholarship board based on application, essay and recommendations of personal character.

Awarded to graduates from Prairie Grove High School will be the “IMPACT” and “Spirit of the Tiger” scholarships.  However,Play4Jarren Foundation, Childhood Cancer Awareness, Christian Non-Profit Organizations there will also be a “Celebration of Life” scholarship awarded outside of the Prairie Grove community, whether across the region, state or nation.

IMPACT Scholarship – Is awarded to an individual who demonstrates a desire to positively impact their school/community.  This award is given to an individual who demonstrates leadership and compassion for others through community and school service/involvement by making positive contributions that encourage and impact others around them.

Spirit of the Tiger Scholarship – Is awarded to an athlete who demonstrates characteristics of tenacity, determination and perseverance.  This award is given to an individual who demonstrates a Never-Give-Up, Never-Give-In, Never Quit attitude both on and off the field/court when faced with adversities and difficult situations.

Celebration of Life Scholarship – Is awarded to an individual whose life has been affected by cancer in some way.  This award will be Play4Jarren Foundation, Childhood Cancer Awareness, Christian Non-profit, Christian Non-profit Organizationsgiven to an individual who has been impacted by cancer but continues to celebrate every moment of life and live it to the fullest.  This person may have had cancer themselves or had a family member or friend with cancer.

Jarren’s Legacy

From a Loving Mother and Father…

Anyone who knew Jarren pretty much describes him the same way – Tenacious, Determined, Full of spirit and passion.  From the time Jarren was tiny he had a competitive spirit that would not yield.  This held true throughout his battle with cancer.  At every turn during diagnosis and treatment, Jarren continued with his never-give-up, never-give-in, never quit attitude.  This is one of the things that drives our family to continue his legacy.  He simply would never quit!  The foundation motto is “Competitive, Compassionate, Courageous!”  These are words Jarren lived by daily.  He never let his diagnosis or amputation define or limit him.  He loved life and throughout the journey said he wasn’t afraid because he knew who his Savior was and is…

You can soon find out more about the Play4Jarren Foundation when the website launches in early to mid January of 2017, at play4jarren.org.

Comments are closed.