An area family going through tough times praised Saturday's Shop with a Cop event.

Christmas is a time for giving. Some give presents, some give love.

For Pake Long, 11, his Christmas wish is a new liver.

Stella resident Pake, along with his sister, Maddison, 8, and brother Dalton, 13, were participants during the annual Shop with a Cop event Saturday at the Neosho Wal-Mart. They joined 170 children – the highest number of participants for the program in its history.

“At the age of 7, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease,” said Teresa, Pake’s mother. “It attacks the lower intestine. He started to hemorrhaging through his bowels.”

Crohn's disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, is a condition in which the lining of your digestive tract becomes inflamed, causing severe diarrhea and abdominal pain. The main gastrointestinal symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody) or constipation, vomiting and weight loss. Crohn's disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America.

“The reason that we are here is his dad, Dean, had a brain tumor two years ago and it has been hard financially,” said Teresa. “We lost a daughter, right before Dean was diagnosed. So we started saving all of our silver change. We had $200 saved and three weeks ago, someone went into our house and took the spare change.”

The money the family saved was going to be used to purchase Christmas presents.

After contacting the law enforcement agencies, Teresa was told by a member of the police department about the “Shop with a Cop” program.

Prior to being paired up with a law enforcement officer or fireman and volunteers for the shopping day events, Neosho Police Department Sgt. Dan Cook organizer of the event, said, “we have $26,000 to spend today.”

Each of the children were given a certain amount. For the Long family, the children were given $150 each. That money could be spent on anything they wanted.

Walking the aisles, Maddison spotted dolls and horses. She picked it up, put into the shopping cart as Neosho Fire Department administrative assistant Mari Mallory calculated how much more Maddison could spend.

“I like horses,” said Maddison.

After pursuing the next aisle, Dalton and Pake came back to see what their sister and mother were doing. In Pake’s arms was a remote control “Dukes of Hazzard General Lee” car.

“I wanted a remote control car,” said Pake.

Dalton, on the other hand, decided to get a radio-controlled boat.

After the siblings visited the toy aisles, they separated and headed in different directions. For the two brothers, they went to boys/men’s clothing and to the pet section. They wanted to get their father couple of presents. Pake wanted to get his father a pocket knife.

Maddison also wanted to get her father a present.

“Mom, would dad like this?” asked Maddison, pointing to a DVD.

Teresa responded by saying yes.

The young girl also said she was going to get her mother some clothing for Christmas.
After the children finished shopping, they were treated to a McDonald's Happy Meal in the restaurant's Wal-Mart location.

“I think that this (Shop with a Cop) is a wonderful thing,” Teresa said. “It is the greatest thing that our law enforcement could ever do.”

Teresa said the presents that were picked up on Saturday would be wrapped and put under the Christmas tree.

“Pake is doing relatively good, he got really critical before Thanksgiving,” said Teresa. “That is when we spent six days down and last week, we had to spend two more days (at the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Little Rock, Ark.). Right now, he is doing good. He is looking better. He has started to gain weight. He hurts all of the time. He has migraines, jaundice.”

Pake has been on the waiting list for a liver transplant for a year. He can’t play sports and has to watch being around sick people.

“It is because he doesn’t have an immune system,” Teresa said.

For the last couple of years, Dalton has had to do more around the house.

“We have about 27 head of horses, and I have taken the responsibility of taking care of them and my dogs,” Dalton said. “I also have to keep up at school. I have basketball and student council.”

“It has been a rough two years,” added Teresa, holding back the tears. “They are good kids.”

But overall, all of the children want one thing.

“I want our family to get better,” Dalton said.

Anyone wanting to help or just to talk may contact Teresa Long at 628-3311.

Neosho Daily News