NEDERLAND, Texas — A Nederland teen is in the fight of his life, battling a rare brain cancer and his family says getting him the care he needs is going to take the help of the whole community.
It started with numbness near Hunter Bartz' mouth and lips, and quickly continued to spread throughout his body.
"The numbness spread. His head, his arm, his leg, his chest, his back, all the way down just the left side. It progressed into weakness to the point that his left leg was almost dragging he couldn't pick it up right. He wasn't able to use his left hand right," Hunter's mother Andrea Guidry said.
After a 10 hour surgery, the family found out Hunter had a high-grade Glioblastoma. It's an incurable and aggressive brain cancer.
Doctors say Hunter could only have two more years to live.
"The world stopped to be honest with you," Hunter's grandfather Don Bartz said. "There's a lot of hope here but we're just going to give him all the encouragement we can give him."
Bartz, along with the rest of his loved ones, say there are a few options that could give him more time. They say it's going to take the help from the community.
Carrie Hackbarth is working on organizing a fundraiser to help the family.
"There's a doctor in Houston who does not take traditional insurance. He specializes in combatting the cancer by use of peptides and each patient's care is individualized with their type of cancer and their stage of cancer," Hackbarth said.
To make it on this doctor's schedule, the family needs at least $75,000. On March 6, there will be a blood drive, a live auction and many other activities to raise as much cash as possible.
"We are going to have live music, bands, we have a DJ, two stylists who are going to do styles and cuts for women. We have a barber, a cake walk and bake sale," Hackbarth said.
That's not all.
"Link and boudin sale, we have a lady who's going to do face painting for children. All of this is going to give Hunter, he'll feel the support and I think it'll give him more determination to fight and that's what we want. We want him to fight, we want him around. He deserves it," Hackbarth said.
Hackbarth is still accepting donations for auction items, baked good, certificates and other items. She said Hunter's life is priceless and she hopes the community will come together.
The fundraiser is set for March 6 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
It will be held at Pathway Church, located at 2326 Nederland Avenue in Port Neches.
If you would like to make a donation to help with his expenses, you can do so at any Neches Federal Credit Union locations. You will need the account number, 59432-13, and can write 'Hunter Bartz Benefit' in the memo. The phone number for the credit union is 409-722-1174.