Fall festival benefits Trinity 7-year-old suffering from leukemia

TRINITY, Ala. -- The Trinity community loves Jakob Delaney, 7, so much that they all came together to throw him a party he won't soon forget.

Delaney battles Burkitt leukemia. The National Cancer Institute defines it as "a rare, fast-growing type of leukemia (blood cancer) in which too many white blood cells called B lymphocytes form in the blood and bone marrow."

Jakob was diagnosed with the disease on July 5, 2017, and has been fighting ever since. But that doesn't stop him from dreaming. He loves playing sports, and his mother wants him to get well so he can step back onto the field again.

"I'm not giving up until he's 100 percent better and can come back and play football on this field," Samantha Delaney said as we met on the Veterans Memorial Park field in Trinity. "That is what he wants to do."

But it will be a long road for her son, Jakob, to achieve that once again. He has been at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital since July.

That's why his family planned a fall festival in his honor Saturday.

"I kind of want him to just have a really fun day," Samantha said. "Enjoy himself and not worry about St. Jude, or doctors, or any of that kind of stuff. You know? Just focus on having fun and being a kid."

Although she admits the financial struggle has been difficult. As a patient at St. Jude, the hospital covers all of Jakob's medical expenses and housing for him and his mom, but other everyday expenses add up.

"We just go through a lot of money on food and gas, because my husband stays here and works during the week, and I stay with Jakob in Memphis, and he comes back and forth," Samantha said.

Admission to the festival is free, but donations are accepted. You can buy a $5 wristband for unlimited games, and his family is also selling #TeamJake t-shirts, wristbands, and bumper stickers. There will also be a silent auction.

But his homecoming is short-lived. Samantha and Jakob leave again Sunday so Jakob can continue maintenance chemo at St. Jude. She said doctors have given Jakob a good prognosis, but there's no telling how long it could take, and every little bit helps.

"If that means eight months or whatever, we have to figure out how to do it," she explained.

Despite his young age, Jakob and the Delaney's have kept a positive attitude, with Samantha saying, "I know he will, he's going to be fine. When we're done we're going to come home and he's going to go right back to doing just like normal, I know."

The fall festival will run until 8 p.m. tonight. Starting at 6:30 there will be a trunk-or-treat. Jakob's family also has a gofundme, and if you would like to help out you can click here.