MERRILL - No parent wants to see their child in pain.
But that's something a Merrill family battles after their three-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer.
Their community is giving them their support.
Brian Stollarczyk preaches at Trinity Lutheran Church in Merrill.
He gives comfort to people in their time of need.
Now he needs their comfort.
"Back in April our son went through a period where he got real pale and then suddenly had a little fever," Stollarczyk said.
"We thought ok, we'll take him to the doctor and get some antibiotics prescribed."
That's when they found out three-year-old Luke Stollarczyk has Leukemia.
He'll have numerous treatments over the next three years.
"It's even hard to know what to say or what to do. You're just trying to absorb what's happening to your child, much less the treatments they are prescribing," said Stollarczyk.
"Without faith we wouldn't have much to hold on to."
But he says he has a lot to hold on to, a whole community to be exact.
The members of his church decided to put a fundraiser together to help pay with medical bills.
"We saw a need for the Stollarcyk family. Even though there is insurance involved here, there's a lot of extra cost for pastor and Sarah." said Board of Elders chairman, Jack Kleinschmidt.
More than 600 people showed their support at the Merrill Eagle Club Sunday.
"Our pastor sometimes fills in for churches that are without a pastor at the given time. So he really knows a lot of people in the community." Fellowship Ministry board member, Sherrie Kleinschmidt said.
The people Stollarczyk touched are now returning the favor.
For Luke, events like this takes a lot of energy.
He didn't have much to say, but he is grateful.
"Can you say thank you Luke? Thank you."
With the help of his community and family, Luke will need to save that energy for his battle ahead.
NORTHWOODS - Prescription drugs play an important role in our health.
They help us recover if we're sick, cope if we have a chronic condition and help manage pain.
But those drugs can expire or just stay in the back of our medicine cabinets for months or years.
And if those drugs get into the wrong hands—such as toddlers or abusers—that's a problem.
That's why many local police and sheriff's departments participate in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.
It's run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Saturday was National Take-Back Day.
"We're keeping the controlled substances in the hands they're supposed to be in, especially with the pill epidemic now, it's important that these stay out of the hands of people that are abusing them," said Minocqua Police Officer Matthew Tate.
Several area police departments hosted drop-offs Saturday.
You can drop off prescription or over-the-counter pills, ointments, patches, non-aerosol sprays, vials and pet medications. You cannot bring in inhalers or aerosol cans, and you cannot drop off illegal drugs or needles.
All the drugs are brought to the state Department of Justice where they will be incinerated.
That's better than just flushing them or throwing them out in the trash.
"It's very important that it's not getting into our ground water is the main thing," Tate said. "We just don't want people dumping them in toilets or in their garbage."
If you have prescription drugs you want to get rid of safely, don't worry if you missed Saturday's opportunity. Many area police stations have drug drop-off bins in their lobbies, so you can drop them off any time of the year.
MINOCQUA - You know summer in the Northwoods will soon be here when seasonal businesses start opening up again.
Wildwood Wildlife Park opened up Saturday in Minocqua.
Hundreds of people rushed to the gate today to see all different types of animals, some local and some exotic.
"We are so busy today but it's a beautiful day to come out to Wildwood," said the park's director Judy Domaszek. "This is one of our baby aoudads, it's an African sheep, and as you can see in the background there are many people busy playing with the baby goats, and the sheep and the pigs and the tortoises, and they're just enjoying their day."
On Saturday the park had a giraffe feeding.
Workers also have been renovating and expanding the park.
The park has many new animals on the way, including some baby animals that were born there.
"The mouflon sheep are new, we've got some new reptiles, we have some new babies that we're going to have down in the nursery in a little while," Domaszek said. "We actually had a baby badger born here at the zoo. And we have a baby kangaroo. Those guys are all coming down when it's safe to come down."
Wildwood is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Then after Memorial Day the park stays open till 5:30 p.m. for the summer.
MINOCQUA - Lakeland and Antigo generally square off as rivals in Great Northern Conference competition. But on Friday, nearly a week removed from the prom shootings in Antigo, Lakeland wanted to show that it was on Antigo's side.
"It's hard to react to something like this, because you want to be concerned, and you want to help, but it's hard to know how to help," said Maggie Laurence, a Lakeland sophomore and Student Council member.
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