Things are looking up for Jason Overman.
He will probably be released from the Primary Children's Hospital within the next few days. He is in good condition following June 13 surgery that removed two cancerous tumors. And fund-raisers have collected almost all the money needed for his mid-July bone-marrow transplant.The 5-year-old Orem boy suffers from neuroblastoma, a rare form of nerve cancer that leaves him only a 20 percent chance of survival. With a marrow transplant from his 16-year-old sister, Julie, his chances would increase to 50 percent.
"It looks like he will get his surgery," said Brent Wood, a fund-raiser and family friend of the Overmans. "The UCLA Medical Center needs $130,000 before it will admit Jason, and I think we have a little over that." The center said the final cost would probably be around $150,000 for Jason and $5,000 to remove the needed marrow from Julie.
Several high schools donated their senior class project funds, and schools have organized benefit dances and carnivals. Area merchants donated items for a parking lot sale and auction. And private citizens sent checks or put money in collection cans placed at many restaurants and convenience stores.
Funds raised Tuesday by Jason Overman benefit booths at the Miss Utah Pageant celebration have not all come in yet, so Wood said he didn't have an exact total.
"We have one more fund-raiser, then we are putting everything else on hold until we see exactly what we still need. People have been generous, and there will be lots of expenses, but we don't want to take more money than we need. There are plenty of other people who need money."
Wood said any money left over after Jason's surgery would be donated to Primary Children's Hospital.
"The hospital has been great to Jason and the Overmans. They have been very supportive and have forgiven some bills."
Wood said the "pour-a-thon" sponsored by Geneva Rock last Saturday raised about $30,000. For each yard of concrete poured, $25 was donated to the Jason Overman cancer fund.
"It was the No. 1 thing that has happened for Jason. Thirty thousand is a lot of money. More than 200 workers gave up their wages for the day."
The last fund-raiser currently scheduled is a June 24 steak fry at the Provo Elk's Lodge. Entertainment will be furnished by an Elvis Presley impersonator.
"The group has really put a lot of effort into it, and it should be a great night," Wood said.
Wood's wife, Kathy, said Jason is doing very well.
"He walked around the hospital's halls a little on Tuesday. He has really bounced back from the surgery for the tumors.
"We won't know where we stand financially until after the steak fry, but it looks good. Jason needed help, and the community has really come together for him. We are all very excited to be reaching our goal."