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Benefit set for Saturday
'Cow Patty Bingo' to raise medical funds for mom with leukemia
W Katherine and Michael Welch
After not seeing her son for over a month, Katherine Welch, who is undergoing treatment in Atlanta for leukemia for a second time, was able to spend time with Michael recently when husband Nicholas brought him for a visit. - photo by Special

A family-friendly fundraiser and benefit will use a bovine to play a rather unusual game – “Cow Patty Bingo.”

The fundraiser is set for next Saturday, March 4, on the Bulloch Academy Football Field from noon until 4 p.m. Billed as “Cow Patty Bingo – Welch Family Benefit,” the event will include carnival-like games and concessions. Although there is no charge for general admission, wristbands will be available for a nominal fee to take part in booths and games.

Also, participants may “purchase” the assignment of a Bingo square, marked off on the field, for $20. At 4 p.m., a local cow will be brought in and released on the field and, according to the advertising flyer, “If Ole Bessie deposits on your square, you win.” That lucky winner could possibly win up to $4,000.

All of the proceeds of the family-friendly, festive day will benefit the Katherine and Nicholas Welch family, a local couple with a 13-month-old son, Michael. Readers may remember Katherine and baby Michael in the September 2016 MOMents story about seven new moms, all with baby boys, who’d called themselves “Bump Buddies” while actively supporting one another during their pregnancies.

Katherine was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in October 2015, while pregnant with Michael Edward Welch. At 22-weeks pregnant, Katherine underwent chemotherapy in the Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit of Atlanta’s Northside Hospital, where she remained until after Michael’s birth.

Katherine received more than 40 blood and platelet transfusions during that time. Michael was born on New Year’s Day in perfect health and within a week, Katherine had her final round of chemotherapy.

The first week of March 2016, Katherine Welch was discharged and the three came home to Statesboro to begin life as a family. 

The Welch family enjoyed precious time together, but to Katherine received news last October that her leukemia had returned, almost exactly a year later.

 

Remission

Welch underwent a life-changing bone marrow transplant at the end of January in the same unit of Northside Hospital where she spent her pregnancy.

Welch will remain in the Atlanta area for 100 days because she goes to the clinic daily. In the words of her husband: “Her full-time job is getting well.”

Because her mom’s house is close to the hospital, Welch stays there when not in the clinic. She described a typical day: “Currently, I go to clinic every day and stay there for six hours. I receive fluids and transfusions daily. I get there between 7:15 and 7:45.

“When I get there, they test blood samples and then give me what I need each day. It could be a blood transfusion or a platelet transfusion. It could also be medications or minerals that my blood indicates that it needs.”

Because her immunities are compromised during this time, Katherine hadn’t seen her son since one day after his first birthday, Jan. 2, but was able to see him in mid-February.

“It will always be a day-to-day decision during the 100 days from the transplant,” Welch said. “As long as Michael and Nicholas remain well, they will continue to visit me in Atlanta. We have to watch my blood counts as that’s an indication of how strong my immune system is at that moment and judge whether or not Michael and/or Nicholas are showing any symptoms of being sick at all.”

 

Commuting

Nicholas Welch made weekly commutes to Atlanta before the transplant and will be able to start again now that the doctors are pleased with her post-transplant blood counts.

Katherine Welch said the best part about seeing Michael in person after the month they were apart was to witness him walking. “I’ve been seeing him on FaceTime daily.

“This has been extremely difficult on our family. I cannot live the role as a normal mother nor can I be there for my husband like I want to be,” she said.

But, “We would not be able to get through this without the support of our family and friends. Our family strongly trusts in God, and we lean on each other. That’s what gets us through every day.”

Some of those friends she spoke of just happened to be the ones hosting the benefit and many of them are her bump buddy friends and their spouses; others are work-related friends and some knew each other from Georgia Southern University, where Nicholas and Katherine met.

The community is invited to the Welch Family Benefit event and encouraged to support the fundraiser. Monies raised will go to the Welch family to offset some of the exorbitant medical costs. For more information and to find out about purchasing Bingo squares, visit the “Cow Patty Bingo – Welch Family Benefit” Facebook page.

 

 

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