Community rallies around teen with cancer | Community Spirit
This summer Levi Grant’s life consisted of playing football and basketball, hanging out with friends and catching episodes of The Big Bang Theory. In July that all changed when he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. Now, Levi’s life is spent going back and forth between Spokane and Ione for treatments, but his hometown is making sure he doesn’t have to face his cancer alone.
“In July he just started limping,” said Levi’s mom, Michelle. “And then from there it was so fast.”
Levi started limping and said he had pain in leg, but that it just felt like he had bumped his knee. On a Tuesday he had an X-Ray and by the next Friday he was starting chemotherapy treatment. On Halloween Levi had surgery to remove the tumor in his right leg. Doctors removed his bone from the end of his femur to just below the knee. Metal rods now run through the remaining part of the bones.
“It was very emotional that’s for sure,” said Levi. “It was really kind of a bombshell.”
A bombshell not just for Levi, who is in the eighth grade at Selkirk Middle/High School, but for the entire community of Ione. The community immediately rallied around the Grant family. They organized a Spaghetti feed, poker ride, and rifle raffle. Even Cusick High School, Selkirk’s rivals, has joined Levi’s growing support network. The school started Levis for Levi and filled a pair of jeans with money to help the Grant family with expenses.
“The support has been absolutely overwhelming and amazing,” said Michelle. So far, the Ione community has raised $25,000 for the Grant family. For Christmas, Selkirk got together and gave Levi the 12 Days of Christmas to help lift his spirits. Each grade and several staff groups put together a gift for Levi to open. They sent encouraging videos, comforting blankets and holiday treats.
Levi’s favorite day was The Big Bang Theory DVDs and bobble heads that the staff got for him on day four. For Michelle, the best day was day 12, when Selkirk Middle School went gold for Levi. The student body spelt out Levi’s name wearing yellow and gold t-shirts, the colors for Osteosarcoma and childhood cancer.
“You don’t see gold anywhere,” said Michelle. Now that she’s a “cancer mom”, Michelle wants to increase awareness about childhood cancer and the impact it has on the kids who face it.
“All these kids that are here lose time in their lives,” said Michelle. “No kid should have to go through this.”
The Grants never thought that cancer would impact their son, but now Levi is one of those kids whose normal life has drastically changed. Levi has only been to a few days of school this year and spends about three weeks out of every five at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane. Even though he misses hanging out with friends, knowing everyone back home is rooting for him is making all the difference.
“I definitely feel loved,” said Levi.
He still has a long way to go in his treatment. An upcoming scan will determine if he’ll need lung surgery and he still has two and half more cycles of chemo to complete. Levi is also working in physical therapy to relearn how to use his now mostly metal leg. Levi said the support makes going through treatment 100 times easier and he that he’s learned a big lesson along the way.
“Be nicer to people you don’t know because even strangers have stepped up,” said Levi. If everything goes as planned, Levi should be done with treatment in May, just in time for his 14th birthday.
“We look forward to paying it forward,” said Michelle. “It means so much to people.”
Levi said he loves to read cards and letter from people and would love to hear from others in the community. You can send cards to:
- Levi Grant
- P.O Box 31
- Ione, WA 99139