HENDERSON, TX (KLTV) - Doctors first thought it was a simple infection, after an emergency room visit and several surgeries later, it turned out much worse. At eight-years-old, an East Texas boy is now facing a rare muscular cancer, and only a 50 percent chance of survival.
"Two months ago everything was fine normal, you know, nothing to worry about," said Cassandra Kalnins, a family friend.
Thursday, Gavin Rodden was in Houston for chemotherapy treatments. It's a trip his mother Shannon now makes several times a week.
"We went through training together and she's now one of my best friends," said Kalnins.
Kalnins has babysat the Rodden twins, Gavin and Garrett.
"When you see him, he looks happy healthy normal little boy and then he lifts up his shirt and you can see the port in his chest and all the marks," said Kalnins.
It's evidence left from several operations leading Gavin's doctors to a diagnosis: A rare muscular cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma.
"We found out it moved to his lungs and it's a rare type of cancer," said Kalnins.
It's tragic news for an eight-year-old and his mother.
"When they first told him, when they said the word cancer, he got really upset," said Kalnins.
"She can't believe this is her son, this is her baby that this is happening to," said Kalnins. "On other days, she has to have hope because if she doesn't have hope she doesn't have..so she's doing everything she can for her son."
And so is Shannon's work. When word spread of Gavin's battle, Kalnins helped organize a fundraiser.
"[You pay] $5 [for a] a hamburger, chips, and a drink and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Gavin and Shannon," explained Kalnins.
It's an inexpensive meal friends hope give the Roddens help in an expensive fight.
"100 percent of the proceeds go to Gavin, Shannon and the family and that's incredible and it's a little bit that will help them get through this," said Kalnins.
The fundraiser for Gavin is a Cheap Eat with a higher calling, and I have a Cheap Eats challenge for everyone. Come lunchtime Friday, stop by Henderson at the East Texas Treatment Facility located at 900 Industrial Drive. They'll be selling lunches in the parking lot from 11am to 1pm.
If you can't make it that's OK they will deliver the lunches to you. People in Henderson or within a 10 minute drive can call this number 903-655-3304 to place their order. They've ordered 600 burgers but say they have more on standby.