At just 13 years old — he’ll be 14 on Aug. 19 — Joseph Beilke is a fighter.
The Joliet teen, who attends in the , has battled neutropenia since he was 17 months old. The disease causes abnormally low white blood cell counts, weakening the immune system.
In December 2011, Joseph and and his family were hit with another whammy. The teen was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, known as “preleukemia,” which prevents the bone marrow from making enough blood cells and can leady to leukemia.
After undergoing a bone marrow transplant in May, the soon-to-be eighth grader is doing OK, according to dad Jason Beilke.
“His [blood cell] counts are holding pretty steady now,” Jason said. “His prognosis is for recovery is in four years.”
A local business is stepping up to help the Beilke family, who have struggled with the mental and financial strain of Joseph’s ongoing battles.
in Plainfield will host a Dodge for Joseph charity dodge ball tournament from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9.
Players will compete based on age group, with the winners in each group receiving a trophy.
Before Sept. 4, participants can take advantage of “early bird” registration fees by signing up on the Eich’s Sports website.
Early bird fees are $15 for single entry, $90 for team entry and $30 for a family (up to three member) entry. After Sept. 4, registration fees cost an additional $5.
Group times are as follows:
- Elementary school: 9 to 11 a.m.
- Middle school: 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
- High school: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
- Adults: 3:45 to 5:45 p.m.
- Mixed: 6 to 8 p.m.
All of the proceeds will go to helping fund Joseph’s care as he recovers.
Dad Jason said the teen, a hockey fan and member of Team Rink Rats, will be homeschooled this fall as he recovers from his transplant.
“We’re hoping he’ll be able to graduate with his class,” Jason said.
For more information on the fundraiser, or to make a donation, visit www.giveforward.com/josephbeilkebonemarrowtransplant.