FREDERICKSBURG, Texas – 8-year-old Anders Eckert was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in May of 2021.
The Gillespie County Youth Livestock Show earlier in January really showed how a community can band together and raise money, this time in support of Anders and the Eckert family.
Melissa Eckert, Anders’ mom, said the fundraiser at the stock show was completely unexpected and left her speechless.
“It was unbelievable. First, we didn’t know any of this would be happening, obviously. And when they moved her to the end of the sale list, we were kind of suspicious. And then all her friends and family and teammates got up on stage with posters and we immediately started sobbing,” Eckert said.
Eckert said the woman announcing at the bidding is a longtime friend and helped make the event possible.
“The lady that was talking, I grew up with and have always looked up to. So, her getting up there and saying something and acknowledging this tough time just was monumental to us,” Eckert said.
As the excitement at the livestock show grew, the bids came in fast. The total quickly reached over $75,000 in matter of minutes.
“Everybody was just so willing to give. And so, they had that number and then people that hadn’t heard about the giving were able to add on to it. And so, it just warmed our heart completely. We couldn’t stop sobbing,” Eckert said.
Eckert says Anders is just finishing the toughest part in her treatment. She says doctors are targeting the cancer hard in hopes of achieving remission within the first month of therapy.
She says Anders’ battle with cancer hasn’t been an easy journey and adds her and her husband are also caring for two other children.
“It’s hard we also have twin boys, Jack and James that are six years old, and we wanted to make sure that their life was as normal as possible,” she said.
“I think that’s the hardest part that they don’t understand why Cissy is sick and why they can’t see anybody. But to relay that message to an eight-year-old and two six-year-olds, it is very difficult,” said Eckert.
The livestock show ended with a total of a $100,000 raised. Though the funds will provide a tremendous relief, Eckert says she truly appreciates the community’s ongoing prayers.
“With our community behind us, there’s nothing we can’t do, and it’s just made this experience. Much not easier, but a little more bearable, because we have that strong support system,” Eckert said.