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52 Weeks

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By Kevin Sheehan, Special Columnist

When you are a kid, you can’t wait to get older. At least, I couldn’t. I dreamed of all the things that I wanted to do and places I wanted to go. But I never stopped to imagine not being able to do it.

Nathaniel (or Nate for short), is a 12-year-old who was suffering from headaches. After doctors telling him it was just a pulled muscle, his mom got a second opinion. On May 21st, she took him to the ER and within a week and a couple of days, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. There are six tumors inside his head, pushing inside on his brain.

By the time they had found it, cancer had spread to his entire body. Doctors called it the most aggressive form of cancer they have ever seen in a child. With his type of cancer, only 1 out of five children survive.

Chemo had already started, and he goes to it every day, Monday through Friday. His full-time job is chemotherapy. He has become wheelchair bound because of the pain and the cancer affecting his spine.

Nate is a normal 12-year-old kid. He was a “A” student, he is the oldest of four siblings, and he loves playing Xbox and watching football. But for the next 52 weeks, he will be in chemo. The next full year. While people are celebrating the next Thanksgiving, he will be in Chemo. While people are celebrating the next Christmas, he will still be in Chemo. For the next Superbowl, he will be in Chemo.

While we may go about our lives as our world seems fine, don’t forget the world of someone else besides us might not be as steady. We can make a difference, however. For instance, there will be a poker run for Nate’s benefit (see picture) on Sunday, June 25th.

Every little bit counts. Remember, support is not strictly financial. There are other ways to help support the family. Maybe playing video games online with Nate or buying him a new Xbox game, or maybe a jersey for his favorite football team.

We can do our best not only to save his life, but also to save his childhood. After all, he is part of our local life.

Send me an e-mail to get in contact with the family at kevin.stcloudinthenews@gmail.com