Alyssa Hon originally just wanted to combine kickball and Halloween costumes into an afternoon of fun. She ended up using her unique idea to do a whole lot more.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, dozens of people — many in potentially uncomfortable costumes — turned out to Harrel Ferrel Park in Platte City to play kickball. The guest list grew from just the friends of Hon, her sister Abi Jackson and her longtime friend Ashley Burnett to include members of the community interested in raising money for the Jaros family, who recently dealt with the death of 4-year-old Landon Jaros from complications with cancer.
A cancer survivor herself, Hon took Burnett’s suggestion to turn costumed kickball into a fundraiser.
“We were just going to have a kickball with our friends — just first annual costume kickball party with our friends and go and have a bonfire after,” Hon said. “It’s really cool. I’m proud of Platte City and the community around. Definitely, Abi and Ashley put a lot of time and effort when I went through cancer. They were there for me.
“Being a support system is very difficult, so I’m proud of them for stepping up and doing this for the Jaros family.”
The impromptu fundraiser ended up generating more than $2,000 through donations and a silent auction.
Costumes were encouraged but not required, but players included a hot dog (complete with bun), a cow, Napoleon Dynamite, a nerd with propeller hat and a couple of Quidditch players. Team consisted of eight to 12 players with no age limits and games lasted 30 minutes with a 10-minute intermission.
Hon didn’t know what to expect for turnout, but the Platte City community again rallied to show support for a family and a little boy who touched so many lives.
“Just posted it on Facebook and asked for donations and invited people and that’s it,” Hon said. “We decided whatever we made would be more than they had.”
In March of this year, doctors diagnosed Landon Jaros with T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, leading to a seven-month battle for him and parents Todd and Megan Jaros — both Platte County graduates.
Hon, 24, felt a connection after she went through her own treatment for cancer. In 2010, doctors diagnosed her with lymphoma while she was going through boot camp for the United States Marine Corps. She went through five years of treatment and has been cancer free for the past three years.
“The cancers are very similar,” Hon said. “I was lucky enough to win my battle, but it’s just unfair. Whatever we can do to help another family in the community get through their hard time is worth our time and effort.”