Kids raise money for fellow student

Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Children, from left, Kolt Dixon, 7, Jailyn Dixon, 9, Kyler Sheetz, 6, Reagan Sheetz, 9, and Morgan Sheetz, 8, sit at the Sweet Frog in Burnham. Kolt and Jailyn Dixon raised $640 with a lemonade stand for Kyler who was diagnosed with stage 3 childhood melanoma in February.

LEWISTOWN — The family of 6-year-old Kyler Sheetz was shocked when what was believed to be a simple bug bite, turned out to be a rare form of stage 3 pediatric melanoma.

“We noticed a red bump on his shoulder but it didn’t look like anything serious at the time,” Kyler’s mother, Rebecca Sheetz said. “After a while, it didn’t go away and started to get bigger. Then we knew something was wrong.”

Kyler, a first-grader at Indian Valley Elementary School, was diagnosed with skin cancer in February and has since had two surgeries to remove the tumor on his shoulder. The surgeries, however, did not stop the cancer from spreading to Kyler’s lymph nodes. Now a melanoma specialist at UPMC Pittsburgh has started treatments to keep the disease from spreading to Kyler’s organs.

Jailyn Dixon, 9, who is a friend of Kyler’s older sister, Reagan Sheetz, 9, came up with the idea to sell lemonade and cookies to raise money to help with Kyler’s medical expenses. Jailyn and her brother, Kolt Dixon, 7, set up a lemonade stand at their grandmother’s home in Lewistown. Word quickly spread on social media of the fundraising effort and soon the pair was overwhelmed with support. The duo raised $640 in a span of four hours.

“It was a nice lesson for the kids to see how positive our community is and how they come together,” Jailyn’s mother, Jaime Dixon said.

Rebecca Sheetz added, “The community has been great with their outpouring of support.”

Kyler will undergo chemotherapy treatment every two weeks for the next 12 months, with follow-up tests every three months. Doctors predict more surgeries will be needed in the future.

To make an online donation for Kyler, visit GoFundMe.com and search for “Fighting for Kyler.”