Tuesday, February 3, 2009
For the love of Hunter: Sumner County boy fighting leukemia has a very large fan club
WESTMORELAND-- As the thief it is, leukemia came up on Hunter as a 5-year-old amid his busy life of bicycle riding and baseball playing. And two days before he was diagnosed with the killer, he was playing back-to-back tournaments to help his Westmoreland team win the championship.
So there were times when he was playing first base or running the bases when parents and coaches yelled at him to give more in energy. But it was not there. The leukemia had slowly been stealing part of his childhood that spring and summer.
And then the diagnosis came.
That explained everything -- the rash that would not go away and the energy that was not as common to call upon.
But don't feel sorry for this young man. For the several hours I spent with him last week was to be with a child of such great joy that it was easy to fall in love with him. His parents are believers in God. They are surviving the economic downturn on their family farm and in parttime jobs.
Their perspective, however, has been changed. They live in the moment and joy, as I do. They are not angry. They are hopeful. And then Hunter plays Guitar Hero in his bedroom or wants to field a tennis ball in the living room to keep his first base skills honed. And everyone smiles.
Hope lives here and is celebrated.
Hunter should be in kindergarten at Bethpage Elementary. But now he must be protected from childhood and adult germs from the outside that can kill him. I know about that, too. He does not have his hair, to which he exclaims, "I look like Kyle Vanden Boesch!" He loves the Titans.
The 6-year-old now enters his last critical stage of extra-ordinary treatment before he can go on to simple maintenance treatment and better days.
Pray for him. I will be part of his life now. I'll buy him a model of an F-18 so he can play in his weakened state on the sofa. He has extraordinary heroes to continue to move in his life, like his teacher Ms. Eskind, who comes over three times a week to keep him up on classroom learning after finishing her long work day.
To know Hunter is to know joy. And it will be a great blessing to be with him on this last extra-ordinary leg of his treatment to more normalcy, and a return to first base for his championship team.
God is just.