The “Jam The Gym” event organized by the Tim Orth Foundation will feature an all jamboree basketball game made up of approximately 60 players from the Tomahawk and Red Rock conferences. The annual event is held to raise funds for selected area recipients facing substantial medical expenses incurred as a result of a serious accident or an illness. The teams will take part in a basketball game in conjunction with the Tim Orth Memorial Foundation’s annual event.

This year the event will be held this Friday (March 22) in the Wabasso Public School activity center. The doors will open at 5 p.m. The first game will begin at approximately 6 p.m. The first game will feature the girls team with the second featuring the boys team. Full concessions will be served all night.

All profits from this event will be given to individuals with major medical expenses who have been chosen by the Tim Orth Foundation.

One of this year’s recipients for the Wabasso event will be Jax Schroepfer, son of Kristine and Jesse Schroepfer of Wabasso. When Jax was four months old his parents noticed something was off with his left eye. Jax’s family was told that Jax had Persistent Fetal Vascular Syndrome, which is a congenital developmental disorder that occurs when the vascular structures present during the development of the eye fail to wither, or regress, as they should. The resulting structural abnormalities may lead to impairment of vision.

The best option for Jax’s health was to remove his eye. On Jan. 28, 2019 at five months old, Jax had his left eye removed. On March 18, Jax received his prosthetic eye, and he will need glasses for the rest of his life to protect his right eye.

The second recipient is Yzabelle Rendon from Franklin. Yzabelle is the daughter of Mario and Nicole Rendon and sister to seven siblings. Yzabelle was born Jan. 3, 2002. She was born full term and healthy. Fast forward to nine months of age when she was at home visiting with her grandfather and her mother when she had two small seizures.

Yzabelle received a full checkup at the clinic and then at the emergency room and then was sent home. Later that evening, she started seizing again with the seizure lasting for more than two hours. Yzabelle was then flown to HCMC and later diagnosed with encephalitis. She spent two weeks in the hospital. The doctors thought she had a fully recovered. 

For protection, she was put on seizure medication, and no seizures had been noticed. Her medication levels were so low that she was fully taken off of medication when she was a year old. For three months she continued to walk, talk and meet normal milestones. However, right before she turned 16 months of age her family started noticing that she was having small head movements which would occur up to 100 times a day.

By the time Yzabelle was 22 months of age, she had tried more than 10 combinations of medications. Yzabelle then was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called Lennox Gastaut. Over the years she has continued to be on multiple medications and tried a special diet with limited seizure control. Her ability to walk is difficult at times; she is non-verbal and has developmental delays and needs to have someone with her 24 hours a day. Although Yzabelle struggles with multiple seizures daily, she still smiles and has much love to give.

Yzabelle likes to go for “adventures,” basically driving around to different places with her long-term caregiver, Clint Bennett. Together they may stop at a store or mall in the winter, and in the summer they like to walk by the river area, go to parks and go swimming.

Yzabelle loves food and her favorite is Chinese. Yzabelle is almost 18 years old, and her family plans to keep her at home to care for her after her senior year next year. Her needs continue to change as she gets older and medical issues arise. The space she lives in now will change also. Yzabelle will continue doctoring in the Twin Cities long-term, and the family will be looking into new treatments for epilepsy.

Many activities are planned at this year’s “Jam the Gym” event, including a three-point shooting contest before the games with a plaque for each of the boys and girls winners.

There will also be a number of professional mascots at the event including the “Bear” from the Utah Jazz. The Boston Celtics Dunk Team will also join the event this year, as well as the Utah Jazz Dunk Team. Returning this year is the Fargo-Moorhead Acro Team to perform gymnastics. The Alexandria Aces joins the event the event again this year, also the Phoenix Gorilla and Greg Mueller and the Dallas Mavs Man, and performing the National Anthem will be country music artist Charley Jenkins.

The community is invited to attend. Cost is $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and $8 for students, all of which goes to support these kids in need.

The Tim Orth Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization that is 100 percent volunteer based. After expenses, 100 percent of the proceeds will be distributed to the local recipient families. The foundation was created in honor of Tim Orth of Bird Island who is remembered for his courageous fight against a brain tumor that claimed his life in 1997. Since the foundation’s creation 230 children and their families have been positively helped.