Jake Melvin and his family are not alone in Jake's battle against histiosytic sarcoma. Jake, the son of Steve and Linda Melvin, was diagnosed with the rare and typically aggressive cancer in late April. Since then community support for the 13-year-old Traverse City West Middle School student has been overwhelming.
Most recently that support was evident at Jakeapalooza, a fundraiser held June 7 at Jake's school. Six hundred auction items were donated, 1,800 meals were served, more than 100 volunteers and an unrivaled number of community members attended the event, filling the school parking lots to overflowing.
"To the many friends, individuals, business owners and employees who gathered together in support of our family as we walk the unknown path of histiosytic sarcoma — thank you!" Jake and his family wrote. "The Traverse Bay community has shown an amazing outpouring of support ... Every day we are reminded of how special we are to live in this outstanding community. Thank you for lifting us up as we continue our fight against cancer."
Jake currently is home, but he and his family travel between Traverse City and Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids every three weeks for extensive chemotherapy treatments. Meanwhile, Munson Medical Center's Infusion Clinic is a supportive sponsor with DeVos and provides weekly blood tests and work-ups so the family can stay close to home. To follow and support Jake on his journey, visit www.tcwtitans.com/teamjake.html.
The Wellness Committee at the Northwest Michigan Works! Service Center in Traverse City was formed to encourage employees to stay health through diet and exercise.
Committee members thought it would be a good idea to get a bicycle to keep at the business for employees who carpool to work to have transportation to run errands or go to lunch. Northwest Michigan Works! Business Liaison Joe Bottenhorn mentioned the idea to Jason Lowetz, owner of Einstein Cycles at Four Mile and U.S. 31 in Traverse City, who acted on the information and donated a Raleigh mountain bike to the Wellness Committee.
The Michigan Works! employees thanked Jason with a certificate of appreciation and a card when they picked up the bike, but wanted to acknowledge his generosity publicly.