TORRINGTON – Jessica and Trent Gladson of Torrington brought their two-year-old son, Reed, to Community Hospital on Sept. 28 with a case of strep throat, according to his aunt Melysa Johnson.
After experiencing seizures, the family was sent to Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colo., where doctors found a tumor on his brain. They operated quickly to remove fluid that created pressure on his brain and to take a biopsy.
“When he woke up, he was able to give his dad a fistbump,” Johnson said.
From there, “Fist Bumping with Reed” was born.
The Torrington community acted quickly, planning fundraisers, collecting donations and creating a Facebook page, named for the now locally famous gesture.
Jennelle Werner, Gladson’s friend and longtime co-worker at Banner Health Clinic, created the online group Oct. 1 to easily share information about Reed’s condition with loved ones and community members. “Fist Bumping with Reed” already has more than 1,000 members.
“They were just getting so many texts and phone calls from everybody so of course it’s one good place for everybody to get the same information,” Werner said.
Gladson said she appreciates the prayers and well wishes for Reed.
“We want to thank our entire community for all the love and support they have shown our family,” Gladson said. “They have gone above and beyond anything we could ever imagine.”
In the Facebook group, family, friends and strangers offer prayers, well wishes. Gladson provides updates and photos of Reed, sometimes sleeping after a long day, other times smiling after a video call with his older brother Carter, 5, and twin sister Maggie who are at home in Torrington with their grandparents.
Supporters post quickly planned events and benefits. Chelsi Jackson designed a t-shirt that Torrington High School and Douglas High School volleyball teams wore as warmups in their Friday night game.
According to Werner, colleagues at Banner Health Clinic are donating their own paid time off for Gladson’s use.
Cj Bohl distributed coin collection buckets to area businesses. Those who are interested can now donate to the family’s medical account at Points West Bank in Torrington.
“Rollin’ for Reed,” a benefit poker run, raised money for Reed on Saturday. A GoFundMe page has already raised $4,290 as of press time Monday. 28th Avenue Dance Studio will donate proceeds from a Saturday Halloween costume sale.
Tobiano Studios by Kelsea Vaughan is auctioning off a cow painting and will donate the money to the Gladson family. Sweet Lou’s Bakery is donating profits from sale of their baked goods all last week, Werner said.
Johnson, who lives in Eastern Nebraska, said she is grateful for the community’s support for her sister, brother-in-law, nephews and niece.
“I live eight hours away so I can’t be anywhere near them,” she said. “Torrington has rallied more than I’ve ever seen, and it’s not just for my sister and her husband, but I’ve seen it happen time and time again.
Community members can join the “Fist Bumping with Reed” Facebook group for updates on Reed and opportunities to support.
“We just want everyone to know how grateful we are for their support and to please continue the prayers,” Gladson said. “We still have a long road ahead of us.”