Donations To Help Family As Baby Fights Illness
Who: The Abda family of West Wyoming has watched the route of its lives change since baby Connor was born June 1 with severe combined immunodefiency. Some people know the disorder as “Boy in the Bubble disease,” explained dad Jason, an Olyphant native, because it means that his son’s entire immune system is so compromised that they have to take extreme measures to safeguard him from germs he can’t fight off. Connor cannot go anywhere outside his own yard. Connor’s big sister, Hayden, is 3 ½ and has a non-verbal form of autism, and she had to be pulled from her summer programs because her parents, including mom, Sarah, can’t risk her bringing home anything that could make Connor sick. Visitors must wear a gown, mask and gloves and be screened with questions before they enter the family home. Jason Abda gave up his career as an insurance agent to bartend because of the flexible schedule it affords, though he and his wife haven’t been able to work recently because of the risks from their interactions with the public. They mainly stay at home to care for their special-needs children.
What: Family friend Lauren Schappert set up an ongoing online GoFundMe account, or donations can be sent to 1516 Shoemaker Ave., West Wyoming, PA 18644. Family members also organized the Connor Abda Lovefest, which will offer live music and light fare for $15.
When: Friday, Aug. 3, 7 to 10 p.m.
Where: Gober’s Deco Lounge, 1248 Wyoming Ave., Exeter
Why: Connor is set to begin chemotherapy Aug. 22 and receive an umbilical cord blood transplant Aug. 29 in Hershey. His family will need to move to an apartment near the medical center for about five months once he is admitted.
In his own words: “Connor is the most amazing, strong baby in the world. Not working is hurting us financially, but potentially helping Connor in a huge way by not risking getting him sick. It’s a catch-22, and that is why every penny donated is a blessing. There are not words that express our gratitude. As a family, we have been through a lot. With that being said, we’ve never once given up. We’ve never once said, ‘I can’t handle this.’ We just kept swimming and will continue to do so. Donations are what keep us afloat.” — Jason Abda
Update: The pasta dinner benefit for lymphoma patient Scott Kazlaski of Duryea was a big success on Saturday. He was able to attend with his wife and kids, and a friend he hadn’t seen in 20 years approached Kazlaski after reading about him in this column last week. “It was amazing. The response was overwhelming and emotional,” said Jennifer Felton, his sister-in-law. “With somewhere around 200 dinners sold, I know they had to make more food towards the end because they were running out.”