Dunmorean of the Month: Jack Callahan

Dunmorean of the Month - Jack2By Emily Gerchman

Jack Callahan will turn two years old this March 8th. He’s a fan of climbing on things and getting into trouble. He’s quite a chatterbox according to his mom and dad. He also loves Sesame Street and is always up for a good dance party. 

Molly Callahan describes her youngest son as a funny and happy little kid. Jack is also a tough little guy, and at his young age, he’s much braver than most.

It was around this time last year, Molly noticed Jack was acting just a little bit off.

“He had signs of ear infections, like really high fever, really lethargic, crying all the time and that just wasn’t him at all,” said Molly.

Jack was diagnosed with a double ear infection. But even with an antibiotic, his current symptoms persisted and new ones popped up. He would suffer from nosebleeds on occasion. Molly and her husband Dan also noticed Jack had bruising on parts of his body that just “didn’t make sense.” So they took their son for a visit to his pediatrician, Doctor Jeffrey Zero. 

“He is the best doctor because he doesn’t scare you,” Molly explained. “He’s very mellow but firm, and his demeanor changed as soon as I pointed out the bruises.”

“So Jack and I went to get some blood work done, and they ordered it stat. A couple hours later, Doctor Zero called and said, ‘Okay, do you want to go to Danville, Hershey or CHOP?’”

Molly and Dan rushed their little boy to Geisinger Medical Center near Danville, the closest of the three options, and that’s where doctors ultimately diagnosed Jack with AML-M7 a type of acute myeloid leukemia.

On and off, Molly, Dan, and little Jack spent 116 days in at Geisinger near Danville.

Dunmorean of the Month - Jack Callahan 4Dan Callahan had to put his job of selling homes with Jack Ruddy Real Estate on hold for a time. He’s also a seventh grade math teacher in the Dunmore School District. Thankfully Dunmore was able to get a sub whenever he needed to be with Jack or Jack’s older brother, Cooper.

Molly teaches art at Pocono Mountain, but being that she had just been off on maternity leave after having Jack, taking another leave of absence wasn’t an option.

“I would sleep in Danville, drive to the Poconos and teach, go back to Danville or Dunmore depending on if it was my night.”

Luckily for the Callahans, they had an army of family and friends in their corner — among them Dan’s mom, Maggie, Molly’s parents, Jack and Rosemary, and her sister Amy. They never hesitated to help them with whatever they needed, whenever they needed it. 

“We just made it work,” said Molly. “It’s one of those things that people are always like ‘I don’t know how you did it’ and I’m like, I do. Anyone would do it, you just have to.”

During the months Jack spent at Geisinger, he went through four rounds of chemotherapy and had nine blood transfusions. 

“When Jack was in day one, they gave him a blood donation right then,” Molly recalled. “He went from being gray and just laying on you to happy, smiley, waving. Just from one blood transfusion.”

Dunmorean of the Month - Jack Callahan“[Jack’s] brother turned four during this whole thing, and it was hard to explain what was going on… We joked it was ‘super hero blood.’ We’d say he’s getting Spiderman this time, and they’re gonna give him Captain America next time. The doctors actually…tell kids that now. Because it’s true. It really makes everything better.”

This past September, doctors delivered the happy news that Jack was MRD negative, meaning all the cancer cells were gone. Now happy and healthy, he’ll celebrate his second birthday on March 8.

“The oncologists have stressed you need to celebrate every milestone. Celebrate his birthday, a year since diagnosed, then like crazy celebrate when it’s a year in remission.”

Celebrate is exactly what the Callahans plan to do, while paying it forward at the same time.

A community blood drive in Jack’s name is planned from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 7 one day before Jack’s birthday at the Dunmore Community Center. 

“Every time you donate blood you save 3 people’s lives. Well 9 people because he had 9 blood transfusions in the 100 days, 9 people saved Jack’s life,” said Molly. “…it’s such an easy thing to do, and the cost and nervousness and time have no comparison to what you’re doing for these kids and adults who need it.”

Due to the number of volunteers and equipment available, only 84 people will be able to donate at this event, and in typical Dunmore fashion, 74 people have already signed up as of February 26. So while walk-ins are welcome, interested parties are highly encouraged to pre-register online.

blood drive“The way everyone in this town cares about each other is one hundred percent why we live in this town. People are just willing to do anything for each other. So we’re not surprised at the outpouring we’ve gotten, but we’re certainly overwhelmed and humbled,” said Molly.

“If anything comes from all of this, I just can’t wait to see all the ways Jack pays it forward. We’re trying our best to give back in little ways, but there will never be enough to thank everyone for doing what they did for us.”

If you would like to take part in the first ever “JackAttack Blood Drive,” call 1-800-RED-CROSS for availability or visit https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive.

Calendar of Events: February 2020

blood driveJackAttack Blood Drive

Jack Callahan was diagnosed with AML Leukemia two weeks after his first birthday. Throughout his 112 day stay at Janet Weis Hospital for treatment, he received four rounds of chemotherapy as well as many blood and platelet transfusions. Jack is now in remission and doing well.

Jack is just one of many brave kids who have battled cancer in our area. He and many other depend on blood donations from volunteer donors as part of their treatment.

A blood drive will be held in honor of Jack’s second birthday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 7 at the Dunmore Community Center.

Walk ins are welcome but there is a limit as to how many people can donate at this event. Anyone interested in encouraged to pre-register online.

UNICO Charity Ball

The Scranton Chapter of UNICO National, the largest Italian American Service Organization in the United States has announced that Diane Alberigi was named UNICAN of the Year for 2019, according to Jim Brogna, chapter president. The annual black tie optional UNICO charity ball will be held on Feb. 29 at Fiorelli’s Manor, Peckville. with cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 570-499-1534.

“Race Under the Roof” Indoor Triathlon

Marywood University’s Pacers Aquatics Club will host “Race under the Roof” Indoor Triathlon on the University’s campus. The triathlon will take place on Saturday, February 22, 2020, from 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. The cost of the event for participants is $25 for the general public and $10 for Marywood students, faculty, and staff. Spectators can enjoy the event at no cost. To register, please visit https://bit.ly/2FT9Uiw.

 A race for all abilities, the triathlon offers a relay, swim/bike, and bike/run option, as well as a t-shirt for all participants, and group awards. The triathlon is a 10-minute swim, 25-minute bike, and 20-minute run, which all take place inside Marywood’s Center for Athletics and Wellness.  Participants’ performances will be based on time, making it ideal for all abilities from beginners of all ages to Ironman Triathlon finishers. 

 Marywood’s Pacers Aquatic Club is in its inaugural year. Team members range in age from 5-18 years, and there are more than 100 members on the team. Coached by Beth Cholish, alumna of Marywood University, the team practices at the University Monday through Friday from 5-7:30 p.m. each day. 

Snowball Roll

Marywood University’s campus ministry office will host its fourth annual “Snowball Roll” fundraiser, to benefit the alternative break service trip program, on Thursday, Feb. 6, . at 1 p.m., at University Avenue, on the University’s campus. This fundraiser is open to the public.  Participants can purchase “Snowballs” for $2 for a chance to win. Nearly 2,000 numbered balls will be rolled down University Avenue. The first 50 balls to cross the finish line will win prizes, which include cash, Apple Air Pods, themed baskets, and gift cards to numerous local restaurants and stores. 

To purchase “Snowballs,” visit alternativebreak@m.marywood.edu, or purchase directly in the office of campus ministry. Participants do not need to be present to win.

For additional information, please contact Ann H. O’Brien, L.S.W., assistant director for service learning and community service, at (570) 961-4593, or email aobrien@marywood.edu.

Marywood Admitted Student Program

marywoodMarywood University will hold Admitted Student Day on Saturday, March 21, 2020, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the Nazareth Student Center.. This event is for students who have been admitted to Marywood University. To attend, please register at www.marywood.edu/admitday.

The program will begin with a 9 a.m. registration in the Fireplace Lounge at the Nazareth Student Center. The events will include department visits, information sessions with student leaders, admissions and financial aid representatives. Check out what it’s like to live on campus, with tours of our residence halls. Guests will enjoy complimentary breakfast and lunch, and a Q&A session will be held for parents of admitted students. 

For additional information about Marywood University’s Admitted Student Day, visit www.marywood.edu/admissions/visit-campus/, or call the office of admissions at Marywood University, at (570) 348-6234.

TEDxScranton

Marywood University will host TEDxScranton on Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., in the School of Architecture on the University’s campus. TED (technology, entertainment, and design) is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” It will include TED talks, video, and speakers, including Matt Artz, Monica Simon, Jeremy Ciliberto, Suzanne Kapral, Cole Hastings Goldstein, Lisa Reynolds, Mason Crawford, Laurel Radzieski, Steve Gavin, Jourdan Cole, Jack Goddard, Glynis Johns, and Jamie Smith. For information about the TEDxScranton conference at Marywood University, visit facebook.com/events/1302657786576265/. For information about the speakers at the event or to purchase tickets, visit tedxscranton.com/.

West Scranton Reunion

West Scranton High School Alumni Class of 1970 will hold its 50th Class Reunion on Friday, June 5, at Colarusso’s LaPalazzo, Birney Avenue, Moosic, from 6 to 10 p.m.  The menu will include appetizers, buffet, and cake. There will be an open bar. Jack Martin will be DJ. Tickets are $65 per person.

Send a check or money order to:  Chris Mensky, 1348 Dartmouth St., Scranton, PA 18504 and make it payable to: INVADERS 1970 CLASS REUNION.  Final count must be made by May 27.

unicoChoral Competition

The Keystone Chapter of UNICO National is sponsoring its second annual High School Choral Competition with six choral groups competing on March 1 at Lackawanna College. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the program begins at 2.  Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and children five and younger are free. For tickets, contact Toni DiVizio at 570-344-2388 or any Keystone UNICO Member.  

Proceeds from this event will benefit local charities and scholarships. Dunmore High with Frank Jones Directing is participating. There will be monetary prizes awarded to the first place large group chorus and the first place small group chorus.  In addition, there will be a Peoples Choice award winner decided by the audience.