Super Kuper Fundraiser in Leadville Today
The news of cancer can strike the heart of fear for any family, but when the diagnosis involves a child, cancer takes on a completely different range of emotions and questions.
The Bertolas family of Leadville received such devastating news last November 2016 and has been bravely battling the disease with their son “Super” Kuper Bertolas ever since. There are a couple of fundraisers to help offset the medical costs in Leadville Today. The first one is for the kids from 4 – 6 p.m. at the 6th Street Gym and will include lots of children’s activities. Then later, the adults can help raise funds and have a little dancing fun at the Eagles Lodge from 8 – 11 p.m.
Leadville Today also checked in with the Bertolas family to see how the treatment is going, what’s next and of course, how is Super Kuper?
“We’re on Day 23 for this trip,” said Kuper’s mom Saige Thomas-Bertolas, in a phone interview on July 7. This latest episode started as a fever, something Kuper’s more sensitive to since his immune system has been “depreciated to zero” as he undergoes the more aggressive chemotherapy treatments.
Kuper was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), a type of cancer that starts from white blood cells in the bone marrow, and known to compromise the immune system. Since the initial surgery in November 2016, the trips to Denver have been frequent, and the stays longer.
Saige said they were hoping to get out of the hospital soon. After that, they would be transitioning into the “maintenance” cycle of the chemo treatment, which will hopefully stabilize things. For those who have traveled down this road, it’s a numbers game. In order for Kuper to be released from the hospital, his “segs” (segmented neutrophils) need to reach 100, with the eventual target of 500 in order for Kuper to be out in public, back out with his buddies.
“He got to play baseball this season,” Saige reported enthusiastically, adding ”but it was only for half the season.” But when you’re 8 years old and spending a lot of time in hospital rooms, any kind of normalcy is its own medicine.
However, for his parents, routines have been thrown to the side. Saige is ever-present by her son’s side, with her position as a Sergeant in the Leadville Police Department “on pause” during this latest hospital stay, thanks to an understanding Chief and colleagues willing to pick up the slack. Kuper’s dad, Alan Bertolas, works up at the Climax Mine, with his time off traveling up and down I-70 to spend time with his only son, his only child.
“Thank God for Climax’s (health) insurance,” stated Saige. “Or we don’t know where we’d be.” But even with that safety net, the bills still stack up, from trips to Denver, lost time at work and other expenses only the heart-sick families tasked to bear such a burden know fully.
Thankfully, it’s times like these when small towns come together: for each other, for families, and for an 8-year-old little boy named Super Kuper!
How You Can Help:
The Bertolas family has a long, challenging road ahead of them, so please keep this special Leadville family in your prayers. Donations can be made in Kuper Bertolas’ name at today’s fundraiser at the 6th Street Gym (or tonight at the Eagles Lodge), Peoples Bank of Leadville, and the Kuper Bertolas YouCaring account where online donations can be made directly: LINK.
Librarian Retires after Quarter Century
By Mary Jelf, Leadville Today Contributor
She was honored with kind words about her vision, her grant writing successes, and her devotion to providing resources for lifelong learning to our community.
Lake County public Library Director Nancy Schloerke received gifts of a plaque, a miniature card catalog with book recommendations from staff and friends, and the reading of an original book written in her honor by children’s librarian Glenda Dunn.
When Schloerke first started at the library, there were card catalogs with actual paper index cards to locate items, and books checked out by patrons were hand stamped with a due date for return after patrons wrote their names on the borrowing card. Now the library has an online catalog, free wi-fi, computers for public use, and online databases for patrons to use remotely. Resources for children, historical researchers, and the public have evolved and expanded to meet the needs of out 21st century community.
The library is very lucky to have benefited from Schloerke’s service for over two decades. We will miss her and wish her the best in her new endeavors.