Hundreds of people gathered Saturday at the parking lot outside Sycuan Casino in El Cajon for “Parker Palooza,” a fundraiser held for a local 6-year-old boy living with kidney cancer.
Parker David Shaw was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer. He’s a patient at Rady Children’s hospital, where his mother works.
Parker has been receiving treatment there, but his family wants to raise enough money to take him to a hospital in New York where he can get more advanced treatment.
Saturday’s fundraiser began at noon and lasted five hours. Parker was supposed to be flown into the festivities via helicopter, but unfortunately he didn’t feel well and wasn’t able to leave the hospital.
Still, the show went on to raise money for Parker and about 2,000 people came together to enjoy musical performances by artists such as Perro Bravo, Sprung Monkey, C-Money, and The Players. Attendees also enjoyed food and other activities such as live and silent auctions.
The funds raised at the event will undoubtedly help Parker get the treatment he needs.
The boy's mother, Crystal Shaw, said that despite the harsh treatment and side effects of chemotherapy, Parker never complains and is very optimistic. She calls her son a "fighter."
"Parker handles the treatments like a man. He's taught us more at six years old than any man that I know. He's just brave and amazing and doesn't complain,” she said.
Shaw said although she thinks Rady Children’s Hospital is a great facility, Parker’s kind of cancer is not treated there very often.
“At Rady Children’s Hospital they only see this about six to 10 times a year, so it’s kind of rare for San Diego, but at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York, they see this up to 400 times a year, so I mean knowledge is power. When you see something so much, you’re going to know how to handle it,” she said.
“The number one surgeon for Neuroblastoma is at the hospital in New York,” she continued.
The “Parker Palooza” had originally been planned to take place at another venue, but those plans fell through. That’s when Sycuan offered to host the event to help the 6-year-old boy and his family.