Something to Be Thankful For

By Jeremy Gulley

We should be thankful for the good things in our lives every day, not just on Thanksgiving. Though a special day to remember what is most important to us can be wonderful, thankfulness should last all year. Often, however, finding something to be thankful for is difficult.

That is the lesson that Lisa Hastings has learned over the years while walking her son, Gage, now 9, through multiple treatments for brain cancer. Gage was diagnosed when he was two years old, and the initial prognosis was not good. After a two surgeries to remove the tumor, another surgery to place a shunt, then chemotherapy, the placement of a feeding tube to stop his dramatic weight loss, then more chemo, Lisa and her family felt as if they were running out of options, and Gage was not getting better. The tumor was showing regrowth for a third time and they were facing another brain surgery.

Then, their miracle happened in the form of 3- D conformal radiation therapy at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Lisa did not want to expose Gage to traditional radiation “they said because of his young age he would have over a 90 percent chance of being severely retarded. (At age 7 the risk would be less for retardation).” St. Jude’s, however, offered a different form of radiation that did not include risks associated with traditional methods. According to an article from St. Jude, “a three-dimensional approach to treating brain tumors with radiation is challenging the general consensus that radiation treatment for brain cancer is inevitably a trade off of life for a loss of cognitive function and normal growth.”

So far, in Gage’s life, that trade off wasn’t necessary. Though he suffers hearing loss and takes growth hormone therapy because radiation destroyed his natural hormones, he is living a life that is, by all accounts, normal.

For this, Lisa Hastings can be thankful: Thankful for her son’s health, thankful for her decision to not pursue traditional therapy, and thankful for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

She can also be thankful for people like Callie Benton.

On Dec. 4 Callie and her sister Beth will be running the St. Jude’s Marathon in Memphis, Tenn., in Gage’s honor.

Prompted by her co-worker, Paula Weir, Callie decided to use Gage for inspiration for the 26.2 mile run. “I can use all the inspiration I can get,” said Benton, “but it was Paula’s idea. She’s an amazing woman with a huge heart.”

Callie, who attends First Presbyterian Church in Osawatomie with Gage and his family, asked Lisa and her family if it was okay to run in Gage’s honor. “She was thrilled,” said Benton, “and that’s when it became real that we are doing something great here.”

Callie went on to say that she is honored to be running for Gage. “I can’t thank him and his family enough for allowing me to run in his honor” she said. “My girls are also very excited to be doing the mile-at-a-time race for Gage.”

For more information about St. Jude’s Marathon: http://www.stjudemarathon.org/

To support Callie as a “St Jude’s Hero” http://www.stjudeheroes.org/ (click donate to a hero, then find a participant tab enter my Callie Benton) All proceeds go to St. Jude’s so they can continue to help children like Gage.

In addition, the Women’s Group at First Presbyterian of Osawatomie is doing a “pie drive” to raise money to donate to “running for Gage”. They are offering ready-made pies for $10. Contact Paula Weir at (913) 285-0233 to order.

We should all be thankful for what we have in our lives. Not just on Thanksgiving Day, but everyday we are graced with the blessing of life. Thanks to Callie and Lisa, perhaps when we can’t think of something to be thankful for, their story will remind us that the little things in life are what matter most. We should be thankful for what we have, and thankful for reminders that there is still good in the world.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital will continue to monitor Gage’s health until he is 18, or is 10 years cancer free. They are concerned with not only a cure but also the long-term effects of the treatment he has received.

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Posted by admin on Nov 24 2010. Filed under News and Updates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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