The Rugby community is lending a helping hand as one boy faces a long list of health issues.
“Aspen was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer 11 years ago,” Randi Heisler said.
Heisler says the cancer was neuroblastoma, which often develops in the small glands on top of the kidneys.
“We couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him for a long time and finally he was diagnosed and it had entered his spine,” she said.
His journey has been a long one.
“It was life or death for many years actually,” Heisler said.
Aspen, now 12, is cancer-free, but from the day he was diagnosed, the outpour of support has been felt.
“They had had ‘Prayers for Aspen’ stickers made, distributed,” Heisler said.
The ladies at iDesign in Rugby made more than a thousand stickers in honor of Aspen to help raise money for his medical costs.
“Well, several years ago we had just got a brand new colored printer and we thought well let’s do stickers, and it just kind of steamrolled from there,” iDesign owner Daunne Heilman said.
That steam, rolled the stickers far beyond what they imagined.
“We’ve seen it in Minnesota and it’s always so random when we see it, but they just pop up,” Heisler said.
And years later, they’re starting to pop up again.
Aspen recently had to undergo another major surgery due to his aggressive cancer treatments, but to help raise awareness this time, iDesign partnered with Solid Ground Café coffee shop to hold a Pay it Forward chain.
For every coffee bought, a Prayers for Aspen sticker was attached.
“It’s still going strong. People are coming through and are really just supporting — supporting the cause and saying a little prayer for Aspen and paying it forward to the person behind them,” Solid Ground Café owner Jodie Kirchofner said.
Kirchofner says it’s been nine days since they started and people from all over have stuck their heads in to support.
For Aspen and his family, it means the world.
“I complain about living in a small town, I’m not a small-town girl, but there really is nothing like being in a small town like this,” Heisler said.
Heisler says Aspen is still cancer free and shouldn’t need any further surgeries moving forward.
His next check up appointment is in six weeks.