Happy Friday, fellow fighters!
Each week, we celebrate and cheer for someone who is fighting with everything they have against childhood cancer. Today, I'd like to introduce you to Trucker Dukes, a darling three year old who is fighting for his life against Neuroblastoma. I "met" Trucker via Facebook last week, and my heart melted. I can't wait to make the Hawaii "E Pluribus Unum Project" quilt so I can write this sweet little man's name in BIG LETTERS so that everyone who sees it will know that Trucker is a tough, amazing fighter!
Here's an excerpt from his Facebook page:
"Trucker Dukes, the youngest son of Maui fire fighter Joshua Dukes and Maui jewelry maker Shauna Dukes, was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer that has spread to 50% of his body. The 3 year old has an older sister and two older brothers.
“A few months before I took him to the doctor he had a fever for a week,” Shauna said. “His molars were coming in, so I thought, ‘Man, he’s just a fussy teether.’ Later, we found out that it is really common for neuroblastoma patients to have a fever.” Trucker’s fever and irritability returned a few weeks later and Shauna’s mom noticed that his stomach looked distended. Shauna took him to the pediatrician that morning on November 24, 2014.
“He also had a little black eye, and the doctor asked how he got it. I didn’t know. Now in retrospect, I know that black eyes are signs of neuroblastoma, and I think that is what alerted the doctor.” Shauna continues, “I expected her to say, ‘He has an infection, go home, here are some antibiotics.’” Instead, Shauna was told he had a big mass in his stomach and more tests on Oahu were needed. A low hemoglobin count required a blood transfusion on Maui. “I feel like I haven’t really woke up from the nightmare ever since."
Trucker was treated first in Hawaii and then in New York City. He is currently back home in Hawaii with his family being treated with prayer, good nutrition, and lots of love to improve his quality of life for as long as possible.
Trucker has been named an honorary Maui firefighter. His precious oath reads:
"I, Trucker, Honorary Firefighter for the County of Maui, Department of Fire and Public Safety, do solumnly swear on this 14th day of December, 2015, to fight hard against cancer, to love my parents, family, and friends, to continue to be as strong and brave as I have been for the past year, to light up the lives of everyone around me with my smile and laugh, and to never lose my hope or my spirit, so help me God."
Please say a prayer for Trucker as his fight continues and his pain has increased again. You can also post your best tough face on Facebook and tag it #truckertoughchallenge to encourage Trucker Boy. Here's mine:
Take ACTION for Trucker and other Fighters:
1) Like Team Trucker on Facebook and join the #TruckerToughChallenge to encourage the Dukes family
2) Like Quilts for Cure on Facebook to stay up to date on our work
3) Make a heart quilt block for #OperationSmiley this weekend using our easy tutorial. We're up to 52 blocks (nearly 3 quilts); please help us make even more for Smiley Kylie's upcoming birthday.
Hug your dear ones extra tight tonight,
All images courtesy of the Team Trucker Facebook Page.