Ann Arbor police officers to host fundraiser Saturday for childhood cancer research

ANN ARBOR – Two officers from the Ann Arbor Police Department team up with Nightcap to run a fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

For AAPD employees Kabe Jenkins and Shellie Mathis, this topic is very personal.

Both have daughters, Charlotte Jenkins and Harper Mathis, who have been diagnosed with cancer in the past two years and their world turned upside down by the unwanted journey of consultations and treatments.

The agents and their families will be on the scene for “Charlotte and Harper’s Lemonade Stand” at Nightcap featuring a lemonade stand built by Jenkins to raise money — and awareness — for childhood cancer.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For those who are unable to attend or are hesitant to attend an in-person event, online donations are also welcome.

Kabe Jenkins said he noticed something wasn’t right with Charlotte in July 2019. When she was 18 months old, she began to fall frequently and her eyes made sudden, jerky movements. As a precaution, Jenkins took her to the emergency department at the University of Michigan’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital, where Charlotte spent three days test after test.

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Just before her second birthday, Charlotte was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Her surgeon was able to cut out the tumor laparoscopically in October 2019.

With the tumor gone, Charlotte still had problems with her strength and coordination, and the erratic eye movements were still present. She was diagnosed with Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome, an extremely rare condition that arose from neuroblastoma that required its own treatment.

“Currently, she is cancer-free,” Jenkins said. “She still gets monthly infusions for the OMS at UM and she will for a few more years. You don’t know about it until it happens to you – it’s kind of a crash course. Alex’s lemonade stand was made by a girl with neuroblastoma, like my daughter. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it.”

Harper Mathis was 10 years old in 2020 when she was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor. Harper has had surgery and radiation to remove the tumor and is now on chemotherapy. According to a joint statement from the Jenkins and Mathis families, “she continues to persevere and fight hard to get rid of cancer.”

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“Just going to the pediatric oncology ward (in Mott) and sitting down for 10 minutes will change your whole outlook on life,” Jenkins said. “I’ve seen a lot of things as a police officer, but when you see what these children and their families are going through, you are blown away.

“Charlotte has done as well as can be expected. When you have that lucky break, you’re essentially just thankful and want everyone else to have the same happiness as you.”

For more information about the fundraiser, click here.

Nightcap is at 220 S. Main St. in downtown Ann Arbor.

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