Outpouring of support for young W.Va. man battling brain cancer
OAKLAND — The outpouring of emotional and monetary support from the community for 20-year-old Dylan Jones, who has been battling stage 4 glioblastoma brain cancer, has been tremendous, according to his mother Erika Graham of Oakland.
“I have been floored by the response from the community,” Graham said. “The support from Garrett County alone has been tremendous, every business has posted signs asking for prayer for him. I’ve been amazed by the support of the community, it has been really great. People all over the United States have said they are praying.”
Jones, described by others as a guy who would do anything for anybody, was diagnosed with glioblastoma in December 2012. He underwent surgery at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., a year ago, then underwent chemotherapy and radiation at Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
While receiving treatment at Duke, Jones’ insurance coverage was exhausted and costs weren’t covered, Graham said. In October, Jones was doing great and there was no sign of the cancer, according to his mother, but around Thanksgiving he started feeling tingling and numbness on his right side. Following an MRI, it was confirmed that the brain tumor had returned and that cancer cells had spread to other areas of the brain.
“The doctors decided to change his chemotherapy and medicine to try to shrink the tumor but his body didn’t respond to any of the treatments,” said Graham. “He got home last Tuesday and we decided we have exhausted all treatment options. We are now doing alternative treatments now. We are praying and hoping for the best.”
Numerous fundraisers have been held in both Oakland and Keyser, W.Va., to help with medical expenses. Money from fundraisers currently being held will go toward the holistic treatments Jones is undergoing. Insurance doesn’t cover the costs of the alternative treatments, which cost $2,800 a month, Graham said.
“It is so very important that he doesn’t miss any dosages so we have to make sure we always have the money on hand to order what we need when we need it,” wrote Graham on the Dylan Jones Cancer Support Group Facebook page. “He is also on a very strict diet so we can only feed him organic fruits and vegetables.”
The biggest fundraiser thus far has been Dollars for Dylan, which is set up at the Wepco Federal Credit Union in Oakland. GiveForward, another fundraiser, has raised $2,915.
On the GiveForward blog, Graham said she is not giving up and asks people to do the same.
“Even though our hearts are crushed we are not giving up,” wrote Graham. “The pain I’m feeling right now as my heart aches for my son is unbearable but I’m determined not to lose hope. I don’t know what God’s plan is here but I sure hope it’s to prove he can make miracles happen.”
Jones and the news of his fight against brain cancer has gone viral on social media, so much so that #DylanJonesFight started trending on Twitter, according to Graham. Celebrities like country music singer Wynonna Judd and Duck Dynasty have retweeted #DylanJonesFight and country music artist Colt Ford has stated on Twitter that he is praying for Jones.
Other fundraisers include Thirty One, Pampered Chef, hoagie, T-shirt and window sticker sales, as well as cash bash and band benefits. A campaign on Booster.com that is selling T-shirts has garnered $490.
Basketball players from Union, Keyser and Frankfort high schools recently wore gray, which is the color for brain cancer awareness, during their respective games in support of Jones.
The Kenny Jones Band of Keyser played at Schmitt’s Saloon in Morgantown earlier this month and raised $247 for Jones, according to their Facebook page. The band has been holding various fundraisers for Jones throughout the year.
Upcoming fundraisers include a bake sale at 7-Eleven in Oakland Saturday starting at 8 a.m. and band benefit on Feb. 8 at the Black Bear Tavern and Restaurant in McHenry from 7 p.m. until closing. The Dylan Jones Cancer Fund Facebook page, which has 3,260 members thus far, has updates on additional upcoming fundraisers.
Jones is a 2011 graduate of Union High School and following graduation he worked on his grandfather, Roy Jones’ farm in Elk Garden, according to Graham.
Jones is the son of Craig Jones of Mount Storm, the stepson of Jeremy Graham of Oakland, the brother of Brianna and Wesley Jones both of Mount Storm, the great grandson of floyd “Buck” Jones of Elk Garden, the grandson of Roy and Priscilla Jones of Elk Garden and Ramona and James Hanlin of Mount Storm.
Anyone wishing to send cards or donate may send them to the The Dylan Jones Cancer Fund, 3976 Mayhew Inn Road, Oakland MD, 21550. Donations can also be made on the GiveForward website at https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/4yk3/dylan-jones-cancer-fund