Family thankful for community response for 8-year-old Byron Neal
Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – A big crowd is at Maison Albion today for a benefit to help Byron Neal and his family. The Neals are dairy farmers and neighbors of Cole and Kerri Glover, owners of Maison Albion.
They are loaning out use of their events venue for free today to host the basket raffle for Byron.
The benefit started at 11 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m.
Byron Neal is shown with his sister Lyla and their parents, Tina and Jeremy Neal.
The Neals have been dairy farmers on West Countyhouse Road since the family started Poverty Hill Farms in 1956. Jeremy teams with his brothers, Jody and James, and their father Ed Neal in the operation, as well as many employees.
The family is very involved with the Orleans County 4-H Fair. Jeremy was chairman of the grease pole competition and developed the new hay bale rolling event. Byron has been a mainstay at those events, tagging behind his father.
There are 195 baskets up for raffle, and 20 high-end items. Jodi Anstey, an Albion school bus driver, took the lead in organizing today’s event. Anstey has been Byron’s bus driver since he was in Pre-K and also the bus driver for his older sister, Lyla.
Marsha Cook also teamed with Anstey to collect many of the baskets and donations.
“Anybody who knows the Neals know they would drop anything to help you,” Cook said. “Jeremy and Tina are friends with everyone.”
Jeremy and Tina both thanked the community for their attendance and donations for the event today.
“It’s absolutely overwhelming,” Jeremy said. “It’s unreal the people who have come throughout the day to help.”
Byron is currently receiving chemo each Friday evening. He is taking it easy today, watching cartoons at Maison while the crowd buys tickets for the raffle items.
Tina Neal said the community has given the family so much love in recent months.
“Thank you for all the prayers,” she said. “They are working.”
(From left) Jenn Haylett, Crystal Hand and Kim Hazel sell tickets at the benefit today. Many of the family members and volunteers at the benefit today wore shirts with a giant tractor crushing cancer.
Paul Henry of the Masonic Lodge works the grill. Members of the Masonic Lodge and Royal Body Shop Outreach Ministries teamed to sell food.