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A little fundraiser that keeps growing

Kerri Markley finds lots of people who want to help her foster son

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Kerri Markley and her foster son Juan Castro are getting ready for the weekend of May 9-10, when people will be flocking to a fundraiser for Juans medical trip to San Diego.When Kerri Markley decided to have a fundraiser for her foster son’s medical trip, her original idea was quite humble: a lemonade stand.

But she did not realize how many of her friends, and even people she did not even know, wanted to help 6-year-old Juan Castro and Markley’s entire large family go to San Diego in July.

“A friend said, ‘Let’s have a garage sale! I’ll run it!’ “ Markley said. “Now I have a garage full of donated items. It’s been amazing. People are asking me, ‘What can I do?’ Even people I haven’t seen since high school.”

Now, on May 9-10, a lemonade sale/bake sale/garage sale/raffle will be held on 5430 Siletz Court in Lake Oswego. Markley has high hopes the event will raise up to $9,000 that will put Markley, her husband and the eight children of her blended family into a big van and send them rolling down the highway to San Diego. It will fulfill a wish that Markley has long had for Juan.

Juan is a “a little person.” He is just 28 inches tall and has other complex medical problems. Markley took him in as her foster son when he was just one month old because his family was unable to take care of all his special needs. by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Juan Castro, with a boost from his foster mother Kerri Markley, points to the progress the thermometer for the online fundraising drive.

Markley was uniquely qualified for this task. She was a certified pediatric nurse and was certainly used to having kids around.

“Ever since I’ve had Juan I wanted to take him to the Little People of America’s national conference, which will be attended by specialists who help little people,” Markley said. “The doctors at the conference contribute their services free of charge. But the conference was always held in some faraway city like Washington, D.C.”

But a trip to San Diego is quite do-able for Markley’s family, although a trip to cover the expenses of 10 people is still quite expensive.

“As soon as I saw the distance I knew the family could do it,” Markley said.

Markley started an online fundraising site, then came up with the idea for the fundraiser that kept growing. The reason is, “Everyone loves Juan.”

Juan proves that good things come in small packages. Although he has some severe disabilities, he is plenty smart, articulate and has lots of personality.

“I’m a chatterbox,” Juan admits.

Markley is quite optimistic about the fundraiser being a big success because lots of little miracles keep happening.

“We heard from the lady in San Diego whose house we’re going to rent,” Markley said. “She’s giving us a really special price, and she’s a total stranger.”

Once the San Diego resident meets Juan, she won’t be a stranger long.

The online site for fundraising for Juan is youcaring.com/other/juan-family-goes-to-san-diego-/164302 .

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