Natchez teen helping Austin get to Boston

Published 12:06 am Friday, June 3, 2016

NATCHEZ — One Natchez teenager is hoping to raise money for a friend in need this weekend, and hopes the community will rally to support him.

Dylan Troxler, 14, will operate a lemonade and cookie stand Saturday in hopes of raising money to help his lifelong friend, 15-year-old Austin Dungan.

Dungan is living with a congenital heart disease, truncus arteriosis, and will need to travel to Boston’s Children’s Hospital next month for an operation.

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“I’ve known Austin my whole life because we used to live next door,” Troxler said. “We used to hang out every day.”

Troxler is making lemonade in hopes his stand will help pay for some of the expenses of the trip.

He said would spare his community from his baking skills and have other family members supply the cookies.

“I don’t want to serve them poison,” he said, joking.

His sister, Maci Jones, will also sell drink Koozies emblazoned with the slogan, “Get Austin to Boston.”

The siblings will set up shop beside their family’s garage sale at 807 Kenwood Lane from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. In case of rain, the event will be postponed until June 11.

For Dungan’s mother, Jennifer Dungan, the help is much appreciated.

“He’s had so many open heart surgeries,” she said. “This trip to Boston is so they can try to balloon and do some stinting and try to postpone his fifth heart surgery.”

The Children’s Hospital in Boston is the only place willing to perform the complicated repeat operations, Jennifer Dungan said, but the trip is difficult.

Because of the pressure on her son’s arteries, the family will have to drive 26 hours to the hospital.

“We have to meet the deductible for the insurance, then you have travel expenses, lost wages from work and lodging is very expensive in Boston,” she said. “With short notice, all the Ronald Mcdonald houses are always full. So we just have to wing it.”

Troxler said he did a similar lemonade stand for his cousin, Brody BeQuette, when he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

“We raised over $2,000,” he said of his previous charity lemonade stand. “The people that come to the garage sale, they’ll see what we’re doing at the lemonade stand and most of them will just give a donation.”