Community supports three year old cancer patient

Published 7:00 am Friday, October 11, 2019

The Picayune community is rallying to support 3-year-old cancer patient Kayden Watts.

Watts, who is enrolled in the Picayune Head Start Program, was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a type of cancerous brain tumor. He is currently receiving treatment in New Orleans, which includes undergoing surgeries and chemotherapy, said Jasmine Jackson, a family advocate with Picayune School District’s Early Head Start. Kayden’s first surgery was in August, Jackson said.

Watts’ mom, Keondria Watts, graduated from Picayune Memorial High School in the spring and planned to attend college this fall. Kayden’s illness postponed Keondria’s college plans and commuting to New Orleans for his medical care makes it impossible to work, Jackson said. Kayden also has a twin brother, Jayden Watts.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It’s a lot on her plate as a young mom, so we want to stand behind her and let her know that yes, she has her family, but she has her Picayune Head Start family as well,” said Jackson.

The center is raising money for the Watts family by selling T-shirts, wristbands and buttons and by collecting donations.

Riverbank Engraving and Company will create a T-shirt to sell to the community. Family advocates have found nine business sponsors so far, Jackson said. Sponsors will have their business’s name printed on the back of the T-shirts, and the advocates are still seeking additional sponsors. T-shirts, buttons and wristbands will be sold at the center’s Oct. 25 fall festival and continue to be sold throughout the year. The items are gold, to represent childhood cancer, and gray, to represent brain cancer.

“We wanted to let Kayden and his mother know that, yes you are an enrolled child at Early Head Start, but it does not stop there. We’re still a family and a community, and we’re behind you,” Jackson said.

There will be a blood drive for Kayden on Oct. 22 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Early Head Start on Rosa Street. The blood drive is open to the community. Participants simply have to fill out a consent form and answer a few health questions to qualify, and they can schedule a time slot beforehand.

To donate or purchase fundraiser items, visit the Early Head Start on Rosa Street. For more information on the fundraiser or blood drive, call the center at 601-799-4072.