In its anticipated final year at Kalles Junior High School, the annual Loganfest fundraiser will again raise money to help 15-year-old Logan Lewis and his fight against neuroblastoma.
For the last 10 years, Loganfest has supported children and their families as they face a sickness or tragedy, and has raised more than $100,000, or about $10,000 a year.
“Ten years is a good run,” said Kalles Junior High math teacher Billie Lane, who has been involved with Loganfest since its creation in 2008. “They thought it’d be a good transition to put this one down and maybe start something new — to move on as a family.”
Ten years is a good run. They thought it’d be a good transition to put this one down and maybe start something new — to move on as a family.
Billie Lane, teacher at Kalles Junior High School
As a ninth-grader, it’s also Logan’s last year at Kalles Junior High. Next year, he will go to Puyallup High School.
Logan was first diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a complex children’s cancer that affects the nervous system, when he was 5 years old. At stage 4, tumors spread to parts of the body. Logan was diagnosed on a Thursday, admitted to Seattle Children’s Hospital on Friday, and underwent surgery to remove a softball-sized tumor on Saturday.
On Monday, Logan’s mother Kelly gave birth to Logan’s little brother, Peyton.
It was a whirlwind of emotions, said Logan’s father, Jason Lewis, but said even from the beginning, the community was there to support his family.
He was moved by “just how the community has supported us — the support from complete strangers,” Jason said.
The Lewis family lived in Puyallup near Wildwood Park. The family’s neighbors were the Casellos. Mario Casello was principal of Kalles Junior High at the time, and after hearing about Logan’s diagnosis, helped raise money with an idea sparked by his 4-year-old daughter, Chloe.
Chloe understood that Logan was sick, and while reading a book with her parents that emphasized helping others, Chloe said that she wanted to give all of her presents from her birthday party — which was coming up — to Logan.
“She said, ‘I want them to bring a gift for Logan,’” said Casello, who is now the chief operations officer for the Puyallup School District. “That was her way of making a difference for her friends.”
The Casellos ended up raising more than $1,000 in just two hours for the family, inspiring Casello to start Loganfest.
“I remember when he brought (the idea) to the staff and you could tell that it was weighing on him — that he had to do something,” Lane said. “I’ll never forget that.”
Loganfest started as a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, inspired by Hoopfest, a yearly tournament that takes place in Spokane. It received a huge response.
“It’s amazing how people came together to make it for me,” Logan said.
It’s amazing how people came together to make it for me.
“Since then, every single year we kept Loganfest going and donated (funds) to someone fighting a disease or dealing with a tragedy,” Casello said.
Most of those recipients chosen through Loganfest have been students or family members of staff at Kalles.
A year after Logan’s diagnosis, he went into remission, and stayed that way for six years. But in 2015, the neuroblastoma returned, and he’s continued fighting ever since. The 2016 Loganfest was the first time the money went back to Logan’s family, as medical bills and costs of driving to and from Seattle accrued.
“There’s been a lot more traveling. He’s been in and out of school,” Jason said.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like for a family … for it to come back again and again,” Lane said. “Some battles just keep coming back.”
Logan has been taking it easy, saying he likes to “sleep and play X-box.” When he’s in school, he’s surrounded by a network of support.
“He just seamlessly comes in and is able to be a part of the room,” said Lane, who also runs the school’s Site Equity Resolution Council, or SERC. Logan is a member of the council, preparing for events like Loganfest — something he couldn’t do when he was 5.
“We’re the force behind Loganfest,” Lane said. “Our goal is to make Kalles and our community a more welcoming place.”
The Loganfest 2017 basketball tournament is scheduled for March 17 and 18. A Mother’s Day Fun Run is May 14. Registration is online on the school’s website. To donate or follow Logan’s story, visit loganstrong.com.
In some way, they’ve brought the best out of every single one of us. They’ve given us far more than we’ve given them.
While this is Loganfest’s last year, Logan’s fight isn’t over, Lane said. Many others have been moved by the strength and resilience of the Lewis family, and will continue to support him.
“In some way, they’ve brought the best out of every single one of us,” Lane said. “They’ve given us far more than we’ve given them.”