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Altoona tavern hosts fundraiser to help 2-year-old's family pay medical bills

Two-year-old Nolan Hanson has multiple epileptic conditions that cause seizures.

ALTOONA, Iowa — An Altoona tavern tradition turned into something much more this weekend: a chance for the community to come together in support of a family and their special little boy.

Within a month of Nolan Hanson's birth, he was diagnosed with multiple epileptic conditions, causing him seizures. Treating those conditions hasn't been easy.

"They actually disconnected the left hemisphere of his brain from the rest of his body, essentially, to minimize and control his seizures and spasms," said Eric Hanson, Nolan's father.

Nolan recently finished a round of intensive therapy in Denver, and his family is now looking to continue that in Chicago. But medical bills can stack up quickly.

Jeff Geiken, a friend of the family and a regular at Hawk Heaven Tavern in Altoona, had an idea.

"I got ahold of [the bar's manager]. It's a growing thing, this bingo event, how popular it is. And it was all going to nonprofits and charities. I've got one for us," Geiken said.

And that's how the tavern's monthly Bloodys and Bingo event started raising money for the Hansons. The fundraiser featured live music, food, prizes and over $9,000 worth of items donated to a silent auction. For Kaydie Boyd, the tavern's manager, the event was especially meaningful since she also deals with epilepsy.

"It's amazing to be able to give back like that. To see Nolan down there today, all the blood, sweat, tears, time, energy. It's just truly remarkable," Boyd said.

And all of that effort didn't go to waste. The Hansons feel very grateful for the community's help.

"We see a lot of familiar faces, but the same time, it's complete strangers that just happened to see the event and wanted to come out and support us, and it's been fantastic," Eric Hanson said.

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