Jason Overman and his family have arrived in Los Angeles and wait in a nearby apartment for a bed to open in the UCLA Medical Center.
"The last I heard, they expect to admit him Monday," said Ann Richards, Jason's aunt. "They had told Jane (Jason's mother) he would be admitted either Aug. 1 or 8, and now it looks like it will be Aug. 1."Jason is the 5-year-old Orem boy who was diagnosed in February as suffering from neuroblastoma, a rare form of nerve cancer. The Overmans' insurance policy will not pay for the bone-marrow transplant that could increase the chances of Jason's recovery because the procedure is considered experimental.
When the Overmans exhausted all their financial options, they turned to the community for help. Fund-raising events and donations brought in more than $190,000. Schools organized carnivals and service projects; some high schools donated their senior class funds; and petting farms, bake sales and dunking booths were organized. Collection cans in restaurants and convenience stores raised about $1,000 a day.
A cement company donated $25 for each yard of concrete poured on Jason Overman Day. And state prison inmates at Point of the Mountain donated $803, much of which they earned at prison jobs paying $1.25 an hour or less.
But when the money was ready, the hospital bed was not.
"Jason expected to be admitted last week," Richards said. "When Jane called UCLA, they told her there was no bed yet. We felt bad, but we knew if there was no bed available, there was nothing they could do about it.
"But they also told Jane the $155,000 they said was the minimum bill for the procedure was only hospital costs. Physicians will cost extra." Brent Wood, a previous project spokesman, has said medical costs could go well over $200,000.
Richards said the air fare to Los Angeles and the rent on the small apartment will not come from funds raised for Jason.
"As I understand it, that money will only be used for Jason's medical bills."
If Jason is admitted Monday, Richards said, the transplant will take place on or near Aug. 11. Jason will spend Aug. 1-10 having "a whole bunch of tests," Richards said.
Julie, Jason's 16-year-old sister who will donate the marrow, will stay in the hospital about a week. Jason is expected to stay between six weeks and three months.
It looks as if Jason and Julie will spend their common birthday, Aug. 5, in the hospital, as Jason had wished.
Richards said that when Jason left, he looked really good.
"We are all hoping for the best. What everyone has worked for is finally here. Jason will have the surgery. The family is happy but scared."