From C-TEC of Licking County, to Northridge High School to her community in general, Becky Zigo feels both blessed and grateful for the outpouring of support for her son, Colton, and her entire family.
"Everybody seems so willing to help us in so many ways," she said.
C-TEC is hosting a benefit for Colton Zigo, a Northridge High School senior and C-TEC student who is battling Hodgkin's lymphoma for the second time. He currently is undergoing an aggressive chemotherapy treatment and awaiting a stem-cell transplant. The benefit is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the C-TEC auditorium, 150 Price Road, Newark, and will feature country artist Bryan Lewis.
C-TEC guidance counselor Michelle Devlin said Colton's easygoing nature, particularly in the face of such adversity, has helped to rally the overwhelming support he's receiving from C-TEC students and administrators. In fact, Colton was named prom king during the school's prom celebration this year.
"It was a huge emotional moment for everybody," she said. "He's never had an enemy in his life."
Colton first was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in January 2011.
At the time, he said, he missed almost the entire year of school "because for several months before the diagnosis, they had a hard time determining what was wrong with me," he told ThisWeek in June 2011.
Devlin said Colton spent his sophomore year battling lymphoma, which went into remission for a while. Unfortunately, the lymphoma recently returned. She said Colton decided to forgo chemotherapy and all of its side effects in favor of more natural and experimental solutions.
"He wanted to live his life as an 18-year-old," Devlin said. The lymphoma returned, though.
"He found he needed aggressive chemotherapy," she said, and Colton's treatments continue. "All this has caused a huge financial hardship on his family."
Becky Zigo said she is hopeful her son would be able to attend the benefit. She said it really depends upon the timing of his treatments.
"I think it'll work out that he'll be there," she said.
Zigo said her husband's work keeps him traveling much of the time as the family tries to meet its expenses, and her daughter spends time with gracious neighbors while Zigo and her son are at the hospital for Colton's treatments.
"We've had just wonderful support from everybody," she said. "We feel blessed to be in the community we live in."
According to the National Cancer Institute, Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system that is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. Symptoms include the painless enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen or other immune tissue, as well as fever, weight loss, fatigue and night sweats.
The institute estimates 9,290 new cases this year, with 1,180 deaths. Based on rates from 2007-2009, one in 436 people will be diagnosed with the disease. The survival rate is high, according to the institute, with a five-year relative survival rate of more than 83 percent.
Zigo said she is optimistic about her son's future, as he is about his own.
"We trust God to know he has a plan, and that plan is good," she said.
Mother and son look forward to the benefit as well.
"I think it'll be a really fun event for a lot of people," she said.
Tickets are $10 per person, with those ages 3 and younger admitted for free. Tickets are available at Chris Nethers Salon, Village Spa (Alexandria), at C-TEC and at the door. The C-TEC Diversity Council sponsors the concert.