Uncle raises over $2,500 for his 10-year-old nephew celebrating eight years cancer-free

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Brian Ortner raised more than $2,500 for his 10-year-old nephew Eli. The boy who is now eight years cancer-free, got to shave his uncle's beard.

Brian Ortner raised more than $2,500 for his 10-year-old nephew Eli. The boy who is now eight years cancer-free, got to shave his uncle’s beard.

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) — This weekend an Omaha family is celebrating because one of their own is eight years cancer-free.

That’s also why they’re raising money in the Colors of Cancer Campaign.

Something feels a little different for uncle Brian Ortner. He says his freshly shaven face is another reason to keep his mask on.

As part of the Colors of Cancer Campaign, Ortner raised over $2,500 for his 10-year-old nephew Eli, who’s eight years cancer-free and got to shave his uncle’s beard, which has only been shaved off four times in the past 30 years.

“The beard is something that has always been there many people in my life have never seen me without something on my face. So it’s a significant change,” Ortner said.

Eli went through his own significant change when he was treated for retinoblastoma, which is cancer in the eye and retina.

But the cancer was so advanced it got into his optic nerve– doctors had to remove his right eye.

Ortner ended up raising $3,000 for the American Cancer Society, which will support cancer patient programs and research that saves lives like Eli’s.

Ortner then took over on barber duty, shaving Eli’s hair just in time for football season.

“He’s playing football for the first time this year. He got the full release from his health care team at the University of Iowa. He could actually go out and play football this year, and he talked about shaving his head so he could fit his football helmet on better,” Ortner said.

Cancer won’t stop affecting thousands but thanks to the Colors of Cancer Campaign, Eli won’t stop either.

Colors of Cancer – Omaha is still accepting donations for patients. More information can be found here: secure.acsevents.org/site/TR?px=56144901&fr_id=98558&pg=personal

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