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Fundraiser sends boy to Disney

If you saw how far Reuther Haden, 4, could throw a ball, you would think he was just like any other 4-year-old boy. He focuses on his target, winds up and throws with his entire body and will chase the ball a mile at full speed when it’s sent back to him.

But while Reuther can throw a ball and run a sprint with the best of them, he hasn’t had as much practice as other kids his age.

Recently, Reuther has spent more time in the hospital than any child should since he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in September 2009.

To make up for the time Reuther has spent in the hospital, community members and local businesses joined forces to host Aces for Reuther, a tennis tournament and bake sale aimed at raising money to send Reuther and his family to Disney World.

“There’s not a whole lot of fun in what he has to go through,” tournament organizer Tom Anderson III. “What he’s going through is something no 4-year-old should have to endure.”

The goal for the fundraiser was to raise $4,000, which would send Reuther and his family to Disney World, and all remaining funds would be sent to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.

“We’ll be right at our goal or just above it,” Anderson said following the fundraiser. “Thanks to everybody who participated, we achieved what we were hoping to do.”

Anderson rallied local organizations — including the Cedar Point Country Club, North Suffolk Rotary and A. Dodson’s — and individuals to help put on the tennis tournament, and members from the Suffolk Mom’s Club and the Haden family baked all the goods for the bake sale.

“It’s all about showing up, having fun and making a little difference in this young man’s life,” said Harry Cross, who played in the tournament. “When it comes to cancer, there isn’t always much you can do, but there’s something we can do here.”

Anderson said he would schedule the trip with the Hadens this week and Reuther is ready to go.

“He’s so excited about the trip,” said Kim Haden, Reuther’s mother.

“The support we’ve had from the community has been overwhelming,” said Brent Haden, Reuther’s father. “We’re so grateful for everything.”