By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette — Logan Reele never knew his uncle Mike.
But they have a lot in common.
Mike Reele was a deputy with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department in Wichita, Kan. and a native of Lewiston. He died on May 14, 2002 after a long battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
Now, his 5-year-old nephew is facing the same battle. Logan's dad, Marc, a Niagara County Sheriff's deputy, and his mom, Carol, said their son is fighting just as fiercely as his uncle did.
"When we lost Michael, it was so hard," Marc said. "And then, when the doctors told us we were going to go through the same thing with Logan, it was unbelievable."
For Logan's mom, the diagnosis brought back painful memories.
"It's (every nightmare) you can imagine. There's a lot to go through," Carol said. "You remember how scary this can be."
Logan was diagnosed with ALL about two and a half years ago. He had told his parents he wasn't feeling well and they noticed he had bruises that "just wouldn't go away."
They took him to his doctor and after some testing, Logan was sent directly to Women & Children's Hospital in Buffalo.
"When we got there, the doctors came out and they told us they were oncologists and having gone through what we did with Mike, we knew this wasn't good," Marc recalled.
What has followed has been a relentless series of chemotherapy treatments that have taken a toll on Logan. The therapy has weakened his immune system, leaving him vulnerable to bouts of pneumonia and other illnesses.
Yet, through it all, Logan has just kept fighting.
"He's doing good now," Marc said. "You'd never know he's sick to look at him. He's a tough little kid."
Logan's battle is far from over and the cost of of his treatment has begun to take a financial toll on the family. The Reele's also have a son Caiden, 7, and a new daughter, Shaylee, 3 months, and life had become a bit overwhelming.
So, to help stem the tide, Marc's "family" at the Sheriff's Office has stepped up. On Sunday, they'll hold a benefit for Logan at the Lewiston 2 Fire Hall, 1705 Saunders Settlement Road.
"I'm a mom and I've been (at the Sheriff's Office) for a long time and we just thought (the Reeles) could use our help," said Melissa Colangelo-Steen, one of the benefit organizers. "And we've gotten a ton of support from the community."
Colengelo-Steen said in addition to great food and music, the benefit will feature an auction of more than 300 gift baskets and more than 40 big-ticket items, including electronics and valuable items donated by the Buffalo Sabres.
"I'm sure (the benefit) is going to be a little overwhelming," Carol Reele said. "But we're definitely excited and I know Logan is excited."
Marc Reele said the outpouring of support has left him almost speechless.
"It's really nice," he said. "I can't say enough about how good everyone has been. Everyone here (in the Sheriff's Office), we really are like a family. People kept asking what could they do and I can't believe what they've done."Benefit for Logan Reele When: noon to 6 p.m. Sunday Where: Lewiston 2 Fire Hall, 1705 Saunders Settlement Road Why: To help support Logan in his battle against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Cost: Tickets are $20 at the door