A 13-year-old Lockport boy who has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer is fighting for his life, but the local community stepped up to the tee Monday to fight with him at the first "Swinging for a Cure" fundraiser.
The golf invitational event to benefit Jack Langdon and his family drew a full field at the Lockport Town and Country Club, but the Langdon family said that the fundraiser is about more than just them. Proceeds also were donated to Carly's Club at Roswell Park and Mikey's Club in New England, which gives wishes to young cancer patients undergoing treatment, including young Jack who recently received a portable DVD player.
A lifelong friend of the Langdon family, Al Franco, who was the chairman of the golf tournament, said losses for the Langdon family this past year have been "heart wrenching."
"They lost their house to a fire and just got back into their house and then found out their son had cancer," Franco said. "I knew everybody we know would want to do something."
"Swinging for a Cure" will be followed by "Winging for a Cure" on Sept. 10 at Buffalo Wild Wings, 3035 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst. The all-day-and-night event will donate 10 percent of all proceeds to the Jack Langdon Fund.
Jack's father, Ian Langdon said, "We want to help other people as well. It's not just about our child. It's how can I help. It's not just specific to Jack. People can also donate blood or platelets."
He said the fire hit them last year on Aug. 31, and they were out of the house for 9 1/2 months. "There was a lot of water damage," he said. "A good portion of the home was destroyed. There was a great amount of restoration work done."
Langdon said they are back in the house now, having moved back in June, but got the news in late May that Jack had Metastatic Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that strikes children and adolescents.
He called the news about Jack's cancer diagnosis in May "another punch in the gut" following the fire in the house.
Ian Langdon; his wife, Jacquelyn; and 16-year-old daughter, Katie, were able to celebrate Jack's 13th birthday last week.
"He's been handling treatment, but it's been a pretty [bad] experience," Langdon said of his son, who will be an eighth-grader at North Park Middle School in the fall.
Langdon said his son missed the last month of school due to testing in June.
Langdon said they were approached about a fundraiser when they had the fire but turned down the offer because insurance covered everything.
"But when news came up about Jack, [Franco] told us, 'We're going to do something about this, and you can't say no,' " said Langdon.
"My wife and I are extremely grateful for the community we live in because people we don't even know are asking us what they can do," Langdon said.
A fund -- "The Jack Langdon Fund" -- has been established, and donations are accepted at all area KeyBank branches.
"The fund was established to benefit [not only Jack], but Carly's Club and Mikey's Way," said Langdon.
He said they hope to continue next year, raising funds at a second annual "Swinging for a Cure."