Seven years ago, Jason and Kelly Lewis were helping their son, Logan, 5, enter in to the fight of his life against stage 4 neruoblastoma. With mounting medical bills, the family needed not only emotional support but financial support as well. Their neighbor, Mario Castello, the principal at Kalles Junior High at the time, decided to help the Lewis family by starting a fundraiser.
The idea started when Castello would read the children’s book “The Goodness Gorillas” to his then 5-year-old daughter, Chloe. The book has a message to do what you can to make a difference in someone’s life. Castello had no idea his daughter would take it to heart, until on her birthday, she wanted to give all of her presents to her friend, Logan. That year, 25 guests showed up to Chloe’s birthday party. The Castellos raised more than $800 to help support Logan, who was just starting on a feeding tube.
From there, the support for Logan grew, and a three-on-three basketball tournament, called Logan Fest, was born.
“The first year, they raised about $20,000,” Castello said.
The first year of proceeds from Logan Fest went to the Lewis family to help pay for Logan’s treatments, and in the years following, a different student from the Puyallup School District was selected as a beneficiary of Logan Fest.
After seven years, at least six rounds of chemo and two major surgeries later, Logan himself is now on the committee to make the fundraiser happen.
“I get nervous when everybody starts to look at me,” he said of his involvement with Logan Fest.
To date, Logan Fest has raised more than $70,000 for local students undergoing medical treatment.
Even when Castello was living in Thailand and took last year off from the fundraising efforts, Logan Fest continued with the help of current Kalles Principal Guy Kovacs and teacher Billie Lane.
Now that Logan is in the survivor program at Seattle Children’s, his parents say the experience has made their family stronger.
“We appreciate things more,” Kelly said. “We don’t take things for granted.”
“When our son was given a 30-percent chance to survive, percentages do not matter to us,” Jason said. “We have a lot of respect for our friends and family now. We really found out who our real friends were through all of it.”
Following Logan’s aggressive cancer treatments — which came with a long list of long-term side effects — Logan now only has minor hearing loss, and his body is slowly but surely getting back to normal. Some might think that after Logan’s courageous battle with cancer, he would pursue a career in the medical profession when he grows up, but he has other ideas.
“My mom wants me to be a doctor,” he said. “But I say not really. I still want to do golf.”
Logan Fest kicks off May 10 with a 5K Fun Run/Walk. The 5K has a $15 entry fee, and includes a free T-shirt and refreshments. The course begins at Kalles Junior High and goes to Decoursey and Clark Creek Parks before returning to the school. Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. on race day. To register, bring cash or a check to the Kalles Junior High main office. T-shirts are guaranteed for those who register by May 1.
Logan Fest continues May 17 with a three-on-three basketball tournament at Kalles Junior High. Each team in the tournament must pay the $60 minimum to participate. The morning wave, for fourth to sixth grade students, begins at 8 a.m., and the afternoon wave begins at noon, for sixth to ninth grade students. The deadline to register is May 8, to be guaranteed a spot in the tournament and a T-shirt.
Proceeds of this year’s Logan Fest will benefit Lillie-Ann Stewart, a first-grader at Shaw Road Elementary, who’s currently battling medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer.