Tristan Jones’ reasoning behind raising money for the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital was simple: “to make the kids healthy.”
Recently, Jones donated almost $300 that he raised over a few months through a collection jar at his mother’s restaurant, Kristi’s Kountry Kitchen in Meshoppen Township, specifically for children battling cancer.
As a cancer survivor himself, Jones is no stranger to the Danville hospital.
At age 3, the upcoming Tunkhannock Area first grader was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“[It was] horrible. Devastating,” his mother Kristi Faux remembers of May 20, 2016, the day of his diagnosis. “I screamed for a month straight.”
This led to chemotherapy treatments in Danville twice a week. To help him understand what was happening, she described it as needing to “get the bad blood out.”
Fortunately, after one month, things were looking up.
“He went in remission after a month of treatment, then they had to keep it in remission,” Faux said.
“After a couple years, it slowed down to not such high doses of chemo,” she said, noting that this included both chemotherapy and medications. “Then we were down to once a month until the end.”
One month ago, Jones received his final chemo treatment, and his med port is set to be removed from his chest this week.
“He’s got five years, then he’s considered cured,” Faux said. “We still have to go through monthly visits, physicals.”
Jones handed in his donation during his last trip to Danville and hopes the funds can go towards ports for other children receiving chemotherapy.
When he brought up the fundraiser idea to his mother, she found it both “heartbreaking and awesome.”
“He said ‘I’m making a donation can for the kids in my hospital,’” Faux said. “He even asked people for the money himself.”
Cancer treatment knocked Jones’ energy levels down a bit, but Faux doesn’t believe it slowed him down too much, as he kept up with his hobbies as much as he could.
Jones loves watching trains, fishing, riding his bike and watching videos on YouTube.
“I like to play a lot,” he said.
His grandmother, Sheila Faux, said the donation shows her grandson’s kind personality.
“He’s really thoughtful when it comes to other kids,” she said. “He’s got a big heart.”
Faux has been considering putting the donation can back at her restaurant, but in the meantime has been encouraging people to donate to ThinkBIG, an organization based in Bloomsburg that helps families of pediatric cancer patients with expenses.
“They were paying my rent five months out of the year,” she said. “That helped a lot.”
Having been through this experience, Faux now encourages other parents to be aware of potential signs in their own children.
Before the diagnosis, Jones was getting sick frequently and losing sleep and his appetite, but doctors believed it was nothing major.
Eventually, his blood work showed low blood counts, leading to the eventual diagnosis.
Her message for parents is to be assertive if they believe something may not be right with their child’s health.
“I’m grateful for God. That was the best thing by our side,” she said. “He prays every night.”