by: Art Holliday
CARLINVILLE, Ill. (KSDK) - According to Kellie Steinkueler, her 2-year-old son Jackson has had as rough a start as a child could experience.
"We call him our little warrior," Steinkueler said, holding Jackson on her lap. "The fact that he's still with us here is a miracle."
Last year, doctors at Children's Hospital in St. Louis told Kellie and her husband, Rob, their son had an abnormal growth on his brain.
"It was the biggest kick in the stomach you could imagine," Rob Steinkueler said.
Jackson experienced bleeding and other complications from the first surgery. That was followed by meningitis and three more surgeries for a rare form of brain cancer.
"Indescribable," Kellie said. "I can't begin to tell you what it was like as a mother watching that and feeling like my hands are tied behind my back."
The Steinkueler's say doctor's at children's hospital saved Jackson's life.
"They weren't just caregivers to Jackson," Rob Steinkueler said, "they were caregivers to us as well."
Rob Steinkueler is the head soccer coach at Blackburn College in Carlinville, IL, years after he was a player there. On Thursday, the Blackburn players will support their coach by attempting to set a Guinness record for the world's longest soccer game, over 76 hours. The goal is to raise $100,000 dollars for pediatric brain research at Children's Hospital.
"We thought this was a great way to do something on a larger scale," he said.
The parent of one of the Blackburn players came up with the idea. Joshua Hellums says his son spent a week at Children's Hospital as a young child.
"My son is a freshman here at Blackburn and over the course of the season I got to see him and his teammates rally around Rob and Jackson, supporting them during a very difficult time dealing with cancer," Hellums said. "A great cause and a perfect opportunity to raise some money for pediatric cancer research.
If Thursday's soccer game does become a world record soccer game, it will extend through the weekend in Carlinville, Illinois. There is a website www.worldrecordsoccergame.com to learn how you can support this fundraiser for cancer research.
"Showing up and showing support is what we need," said Rob Steinkueler.