Gladiators of Wrestling ‘showdown’ to raise funds for 5-year-old cancer patient
Published 9:37 am Thursday, November 19, 2015
Famous wrestlers will compete in a Gladiators of Wrestling showdown to raise funds for a local kindergartner fighting a rare autoimmune type of cancer.
Dawson Cole is only five years old, but he has already undergone chemotherapy, numerous treatments and been in and out of remission from Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH).
“Dawson is very stubborn, so he’s not let any of this slow him down at all,” said his mother Sara Cole. “He’s never been one to cry over it. He knows he’s sick and what he has to do to get over it, and he doesn’t let it slow him down.”
Cole and his friends and community members will have the opportunity to pie celebrity wrestlers and see live wrestling as well as enjoying concessions, a bake sale and raffle.
Doors open to the public on Saturday, Nov. 21 for meet and greet and pie throwing at 5 p.m., with wrestling scheduled to begin after 7 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton.
All proceeds go to the family, and tickets to the event are $8 plus a new or unopened toy. VIP tickets are available for $15 and include a front row wrestling seat, meet and greet with guest wrestler Gunner and a complementary autograph. Pies cost $3.
A competitive lineup of illustrious wrestlers and celebrities is scheduled for the evening.
Actor Victor Gage will be present. Gage is known for his role in Anchorman II, in the television series Sleepy Hollow and most recently in an unreleased horror film called Lure.
Wrestler Chad “Gunner” Lail, a former Total Nonstop Action wrestling star who recently starred in Navy Seals versus Zombies, and Axton Raye, will wrestle against mixed martial arts fighter and wrestler Earnest “Dirty” Robinson and his partner Lenny “Redneck Superman” Straton.
The event is organized by wrestler and Gladiators of Wrestling owner Tank Hurley, who hosted a similar event for Cole last year. He learned about Cole through Niswonger Children’s Hospital, because he held an event for a previous patient there. He said the cancer was in remission the first time they held the event, and that he simply wanted to help the boy’s family with medical and everyday expenses.
Cole’s mother said that LCH caused a pituitary brain tumor that ate half his pituitary gland, which gave him diabetes insipidus, then ended up with some liver damage from the treatment which caused hypoadrenalism. She said he finished treatment in June for the tumor and was in remission, but in August, they found brain stem involvement from the neurodegenerative disease, but doctors cannot treat him until he shows signs of losing his ability to walk or talk. LCH is a latent disease, which his mother said has stayed in his brain.
“It causes behavioral and other issues,” she said. “It’s awful. I hate everything he goes through.”
He takes daily medication to control thirst and urination and gets brain scans every three months.
“He’s had his head cut open, had numerous scans for two years, and he’s doing better than what people might imagine,” said Sara. “He doesn’t feel any different from other kids, and we don’t treat him differently.”
She said doctors are convinced he’s going to be fine as long as they keep it under control, get scans every three months and maintain good health.
Dawson is a student at Harold McCormick Elementary, and Sara said he is not the only one who has already gone through chemotherapy or dealt with cancer. He also attends Children Exceeding Expectations classes, at which he and about 15 other students dealing with the battle against illness enjoy interactive learning and get to practice skills like cooking, crafting holiday projects, sharing and learning hygiene. The program is sponsored by Bristol Motor Speedway, and teachers work on a volunteer basis.
“They make these kids happy and help families financially,” said Sara.
For this reason, Sara said she is considering donating the proceeds to this organization. Thanks to the financial assistance of St. Jude, Gladiators of Wrestling and others, as well as an increase in family income, she said they are much more financially stable, so they would like to help others.
“If we can do something, in Dawson’s honor, to help give back to other kids, then that’s what we want to do,” said Sara.
Sara said that last year, Dawson loved the event and the turnout.
“It’s really cool to have Tank and others involved to organize this because everybody helping doesn’t do it for recognition; they do it for kids to have fun and to help families financially,” said Sara. “Tank sets his own life aside to help these kids, and to help them have fun. There should be more people like that.”
For more information or to follow Dawson’s progress and adventures, visit his Facebook page Dawson’s Journey with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis.