Rexburg event welcomes students, benefits local family with sick child
REXBURG — The Rexburg and Sugar City communities will come together Saturday, Sept. 17, to “Run for a Reason,” and raise money for a local family who could use the help.
It will also be the kickoff for Experience Rexburg, an annual event that welcomes students and new community members to Rexburg.
Each year, AvantGuard Monitoring chooses a local family and raises money to help with the costs of whatever challenge the family is facing. This year, the company chose the Jardine family from Sugar City.
Klaire Jardine is 9 months old and the youngest of Janson and Brooke Jardine’s five children. Janson is an admired teacher and track coach in Sugar-Salem School District 322. Klaire was born with PHACE, a condition that affects multiple systems in the body and causes large hemangiomas on the face. According to PHACE Syndrome Community’s website, the disorder can also affect the brain, heart, eyes, skin and/or arteries.
Brooke says there were no signs of problems before Klaire was born except for a slight incongruence in the size of her ears, which they believed to be benign. But about 72 hours after Klaire was born, the Jardines noticed what they thought was a small birthmark developing on her face.
“By about two weeks, it was growing into her neck,” Brooke says. “It was this huge lump. It was scary.”
Klaire’s doctor diagnosed the hemangioma, but Brooke’s gut told her there was more to it. After researching PHACE, she emailed doctors from John Hopkins University and based on their advice, she knew she needed to advocate for a brain MRI for her baby. At 6-weeks old, Klaire’s PHACE diagnosis was confirmed.
According to PHACE Syndrome Community, the letters in PHACE represent the combination of disorders that can occur together within the diagnosis: posterior fossa anomalies (brain abnormalities), hemangioma, arterial anomalies, cardiac anomalies and eye anomalies.
Brooke says that to get a PHACE diagnosis, a patient must exhibit at least two of the five disorders. In addition to the hemangiomas, Klaire was diagnosed with arterial anomalies that put her at high risk of stroke. Brooke says Klaire will need to take aspirin regularly for her whole life to mitigate the stroke risk.
To shrink the hemangioma, Klaire is given steroids, a necessary treatment to stop growth that could lead to worse problems.
“It can get in her airways and can get into her eye,” Brooke says. “If we don’t slow down the growth of that, it can impede eating and sight.”
The steroids have been effective at stopping the growth of the hemangioma, which should eventually resolve, but the treatment causes sores that have to be bandaged and cared for constantly.
AvantGuard Operations Manager Jessy Ellis says the Jardine family was hesitant to accept the nomination at first but were grateful that the community wanted to support them.
Brooke says it’s hard to be on the receiving end of the community’s generosity.
“We have a hard time letting our pride down like that — I think a lot of people do,” she says. “It’s appreciated. Money is always tight, and these trips to Primary Children’s (Hospital) can add up quickly.”
Those who would like to donate or register to participate in the Run for a Reason 5k can do so at the fundraiser’s website. The race will begin at 9 a.m. at Porter Park and will loop back around to the park in time for Experience Rexburg festivities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Rexburg Chamber of Commerce President Janalyn Holt hopes Brigham Young University-Idaho students and new community members will come out to the event to “feel a part of our community and be able to enjoy what the Rexburg area has to offer.”
Experience Rexburg is an annual event that brings businesses from Rexburg together in one place to introduce themselves to the city’s new residents.
“What a great way for BYU-Idaho students and new community members to experience some of the great assets Rexburg has to offer them,” Holt says.
Local sponsors have donated four mini-fridges, filled with food, to be given away at the event, in addition to the swag and prizes Rexburg businesses will be giving away at their stations.
For more information and updates, visit the Experience Rexburg Facebook event page.