Elks to host benefit for 5-year-old boy

By Mandy Underwood

The Wabash Elks Lodge No.471 will host a benefit trivia night on Friday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. in honor of 5-year-old Elliot Culwell who was recently diagnosed with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

Proceeds will go to his family to help with the costs of his weekly visits to Riley Children’s Hospital and treatment. The cost to participate in the trivia night is $10 per person and teams can consist of up to 10 people. There will be 10 rounds of trivia plus fun games and a silent auction.

The Elks will also have a pulled pork dinner available for purchase, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

On July 5, Elliot went to see his pediatrician for some weakness and leg and back pain that he was experiencing.

A check up for some pain quickly turned into a more serious diagnosis when his doctor recognized his symptoms and ordered immediate blood work.

Elliott and his parents were sent directly to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne to see an oncologist who in turn sent them to

Riley Hospital for Children to get his diagnosis confirmed.

Elliot spent a week in the inpatient unit for blood work, spinal taps, a bone marrow biopsy and port placement. Since then they have made frequent trips back for clinic appointments.

Elliot’s mother, Meghan Culwell, told The Paper of Wabash County that their experience with Riley’s has been amazing.

“All the staff is so caring and patient,” she said. “You can tell they love their jobs and love these kids. Elliott’s oncologist Dr. Yancey is amazing. She takes her time making sure all of our questions are answered and we understand everything that is going on.”

Elliot is now in the high-risk category due to him not reaching remission in the time frame that the doctors had anticipated.

Once he reaches remission, though, he will have another 2-3 years of treatment to hopefully prevent relapse.

“Elliott is very aware of his treatment and understand as much as he can,” said Mrs. Culwell. “Sometimes that makes it harder knowing that he needs to know what’s going on at all times. He likes to tell the nurses just the way he likes things. He needs them to use the yellow needles and put greasy stuff on before they remove his dressings. He is very much routine oriented and this whole thing has thrown him for a loop, but he’s adjusting pretty well.”

Since Elliot’s diagnosis, he was not able to go to school, but has been able to continue his education with an online service.

“Elliott is now doing online kindergarten through Indiana Digital, which has been such a blessing,” Mrs. Culwell said.  “He gets to work through his lessons at his own pace and takes his laptop to the clinic with him. He has a one-hour live class each day, but the rest are at your own time. Elliott is hoping to be able to attend first grade at OJ next year.”

She also mentioned that Elliot hasn’t been able to participate in a lot of group activities due to his illness, but that he is still living a pretty typical life when it comes to the hobbies and activities he likes such as swimming at the YMCA during the day, feeding the fish at the J&K Pet Store, and playing at Friendship Hill.

“It is nice that most places are slow during the day so he can enjoy going out. He has to wear a mask most sometimes, but he is getting used to it,” said Mrs. Culwell.

Although this experience so far has been hard on Elliot, his personality remains amazing and his heart just as big.

“He still worries about all the other sick kids and is the first to try to put a smile on your face,” said Mrs. Culwell.

“My husband Chris and I are lucky to have such an amazing and brave son. He has filled our family with so much strength and love.”

Wabash Elks Exalted Ruler Jana Slacian said, “The Elks have a slogan that says, ‘Elks Care, Elks Share.’ When we learned about Elliott and the issues he is facing, we knew we had to do something to help the family.”

The Wabash Elks Lodge is located at 225 W. Main St. in Wabash.

Posted on 2019 Oct 01