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Benefit dinner, auction this Saturday will help Hill family

Hill family (L-R): Jet, Tyce, Ben, Jackson, Megan, Madelynn (and husband Brady Nielsen).

Benefit dinner, auction this

Saturday will help Hill family

 

Come join the ‘Fight with Jacko’

 

GUNNISON—A benefit dinner and silent auction for Jackson “Jacko” Hill, an 18-year-old who has been fighting spinal tumors since 2015, is set for this Saturday at 6 p.m. at Gunnison Elementary School.

Jackson is the son of Megan and Coach Ben Hill of Gunnison. All of the funds raised at the event will go to his family to help defray medical costs.

The first tumor was diagnosed when Jackson, then 14, was in eighth grade, and following surgery, his cervical vertebrae were fused. Jackson continued to play basketball and run cross country at Gunnison Valley High School, and the cancer went into remission until 2017. Then it came back, affecting his middle thoracic vertebrae.

Jackson was treated with radiation, and had more surgeries in 2017 and 2018. “Challenges like this change your priorities completely,” says Jackson’s mother, Megan. “Where we once thought about helping Jackson with sports, now it became just about life and quality of life.”

Other family members, married sister Madelynn, and brothers Jet (now 14), and Tyce (now 12), have been loving and supportive, Megan says. “As Jackson became more limited, we found ourselves drawing closer together as a family. It’s been rough on the whole family, but the other boys now stay home more to be with Jackson.”

Jackson’s father Ben Hill, besides being the Gunnison Valley High School basketball coach, works at Fierce Firearms in Redmond. He and Megan also do screen printing and embroidery out of their house. Megan has been a pharmacy technician at Gunnison Valley Family Pharmacy for years, but lately spends all her time with Jackson at home.

In 2019, doctors announced that no further surgeries would be performed, because of the danger to his spinal column. Since then, radiation and chemotherapy, together with physical therapy, have been the treatment regimen.

“Jackson lost the use of his right arm, and his motor skills are challenged,” Megan says. “Much of the time he is in a wheelchair.”

In the last six weeks, Jackson has also struggled to sit up. He can walk with support for short distances.

The community has been so supportive, says Megan, and not only the church community, but the whole town. “When Trent Halladay approached us about having a benefit dinner for Jackson, at first I didn’t want to do it,” Megan says. “Then I realized that there were other people in Gunnison, not just in church, who really wanted to help, and wanted to get to know Jackson and give support.

“It’s not just about the money, but we all have a need to be of service to others. It’s hard sometimes to admit that you need help and support, but that is what makes helping others worthwhile. It’s truly a blessing to be able to receive, as well as to give, but it’s a challenge as well.

“We don’t really want these kinds of trials to come to us, but when they do, we need to join with each other and share what we can.”