by Jim Willis
Some of you have met my friend Evan when you come to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for CorvetteForum’s annual Columbus Day visit. We display our Corvettes in front of the hospital for the kids to see and sit in. It’s also the occasion when we present to the hospital the donations you have generously made through the year.
mrs.savewave and I met Evan and his mother Melissa on Columbus Day 2007. Evan came over to sit in my ?65 convertible and we struck up a conversation. He lives in Alabama not far from where we lived during the 21 years we were in Alabama. He’s a big Auburn fan and so is mrs.savewave.
Melissa told us that day that Evan, who is a stage 4 neuroblastoma patient, had been told by his doctors there was not much they could do for him and that he might survive only another six months.
That was almost four years ago and, while Evan’s cancer has never gone into remission, the doctors at St. Jude were successful in finding treatments for him that stabilized his cancer and gave him, his family and friends hope.
Evan is very precocious, outgoing and personable. He writes and performs songs he?ll sing for you at the drop of a hat and has expressed interest at times in being an actor when he grows up.
mrs.savewave and I became friends with Evan and his family because we would do things with them or invite them to visit our home on their frequent trips to St. Jude. It gave them a break from the hospital routine and I think it helped Melissa to have conversation about what’s going on in Evan’s life.
Evan now appears to have reached the point we have prayed would not come. Evan’s cancer has not been stable this year and his tumors have gotten progressively worse. There don’t appear to be any magic bullets left and Evan’s family has left St. Jude for what they believe will be the last time. They have taken Evan home and are making him as comfortable as possible. He’s no longer able to walk and his cancer appears to have gained the upper hand. They have him on pain management drugs to try and keep him comfortable.
mrs.savewave and I went down to visit Evan on Labor Day and when he heard that we had our dog in the car, he insisted that we bring her in so he could hold her. He seems to have had a special bond with Ms. Sippi from when his cancer started becoming more unstable last year.
On Monday, we put Ms. Sippi on the couch with Evan. He held her and scratched her ears for several minutes before we broke off the visit. Evan is weak and seems to tire easily and we didn’t want to overdo our visit.
Before we left, Evan beckoned us to come over so he could give all of us a hug before we left to return to Tennessee. We won’t see him at St. Jude when we make our visit there with other CorvetteForum folks on Columbus Day.
But there are hundreds of other kids just like Evan whose day will be a little brighter when they see our Corvettes parked in front of the hospital and come out to sit in them. The kids don’t notice so much, but when Jesse, Robert and Kimberly hand over the large ceremonial check representing your contributions for this year, that money will help St. Jude in its quest to defeat childhood cancers.
I’d like your help for Evan and the countless kids like him at St. Jude who so bravely face the prospect of never growing up and having the experiences we have enjoyed.First, please pray for Evan, the other St. Jude kids and their families. Second, bring your Corvette to St. Jude on Columbus Day (Monday, Oct. 10), if possible, because the kids really get a kick out of seeing the cars and being able to sit in them. And last, please consider a generous donation to St. Jude to help researchers find a cure for childhood cancer and to allow the medical team to provide treatment for the kids who come to the hospital from all over the country seeking help and hope. Pewter99, yellowvette837 or Cor08vette can tell you how to do that through the Forum’s donation site at St. Jude.
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