Support needed for family of an EP 7-year-old with extremely rate cancer

Seven-year-old Ethan Jostad, son of Kim and Chris Jostad, of Eagle Point, started complaining about his chest hurting when he was laying down in bed. His mother discovered a bulge on the left side of his chest. On July 21 they took him to the doctor. By July 30 after a number of tests, doctors found a very large tumor the size of a softball pushing on his lungs. And they could see liquid in his lungs. While they were not sure what it was, by that night they advised the family that they needed to check in on Aug. 1 at Doernbechers Children’s Hospital in Portland.

The diagnosis was finally given to the family on Aug. 5. Ethan has a type of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. Sarcomas are rare types of cancer that develop in the supporting structures of the body, such as bone, muscle or cartilage, said a report from Kim in her journal on Caring Bridge.

Chemotherapy began on Aug. 7. The chemo should begin to shrink the tumor enough that he can have surgery. When the process was started, the tumor was so large it was close to his heart and lungs. Doctors expect the plan will take a year involving chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

The oncologist told the family there are fewer than 250 children diagnosed annually with this form of cancer. She described it as “difficult to treat.”   They called it a stage three cancer with stage four the worst possible stage.  It is one of the cancers that will often return and be even more difficult to treat, according to Kim in her journal writing.

Kim spent time at the hospital doing research and found a hospital in New York that sees about 140 children a year with Rhabdomyosarcoma and about 18 of them have the same type as Ethan.

The doctor from the New York hospital conferred with Doernbechers and reported their process for treating the cancer was very similar.

The chemo has been hard on Ethan and very hard for the family and their other children. Ethan’s father, Chris, was in the insurance business but is currently unemployed. Kim is a regional sales manager for a cellular company. Currently her position is being held for her, according to her brother. The family has been working through things such as the loss of hair and one if Ethan’s  good friends has had his head shaved in the spirit of true friendship.

Thanks to a friend, Wendy Gorman, with the help of Heston Charlton, Cal Ripken baseball will put together a fundraiser in the form of a softball tournament on Saturday, Oct. 24. They are looking for teams to sign up. Each team will be guaranteed three games for a fee of $150. All proceeds will go to the Jostad family.

To register email Wendy at If you wish to donate funds directly to Jostads, go to and click on Send Money under the Home toolbar. Their email is

Another benefit is planned on Sept. 12 when the 2nd annual Burn Out will be held at TouVelle Tavern. Registration is at 11 a.m., with rubber flying starting at noon. $10 per burn out. There will be live music, 50/50 raffle and a silent auction. Proceeds will go to the Jackson County Foster Parents Association and to the Ethan Jostad Cancer Fund.

At deadline time Friday, the word was that Ethan and his parents were homeward bound for two weeks of treatment here in the valley before returning to Portland for more treatment.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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