Dear Mark & Christmas Wish Listeners,
I am writing on behalf of a very sweet and outgoing little 19-month-old boy named Gunner. We came to know Gunner & his sweet family at an outpatient clinic visit in August of this year.The nurse checking him into our office immediately alerted our physician team there was a problem while checking him in for his visit.Gunner was urgently admitted to the hospital because his abdomen was so enlarged he was in serious pain & having trouble breathing.Scans quickly revealed he had a large Wilms tumor, a pediatric cancer arising from the kidney.Surgery plans were made to try and remove the tumor; however, due to the location and size of the tumor the team had to stop mid-operation as Gunner was having life threatening bleeding complications.Gunner and his family spent some time in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit recovering from surgery & when it was deemed safe we started his intensive chemotherapy regimen to begin his treatment.In just the short time since we met, he has undergone 12 weeks of chemotherapy, abdominal radiation treatments requiring daily sedation, and had his cancerous kidney removed.He is such a brave and strong little warrior!His parents have been attentive to all of his care needs & his mother, Ciji (pronounced See-jee), has never left his side for any appointment or surgery.They are halfway to completing his treatment and feel so blessed he is doing well with his therapy.Gunner’s family has been so gracious to our care team. During Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Ciji made some of the most amazing desserts to share with the clinic and hospital staff to show their appreciation to all of us.After the difficulty of this year, it really touched all of us in such a special way & OH BOY were they delicious!
Gunner comes from a large family who enjoys being together by playing games outside, having family movie nights, cooking/baking, and listening to music together.He has 5 siblings, so as you can imagine life is never dull in their household!He adores playing with his twin 3-year old brothers when he is at home – they are amazing therapy for him!Gunner’s mother stays at home to care for the children and get him to all his medical appointments & his Dad, Cody, works as a carpenter providing the family’s only income.They were so moved by the offer to be a Christmas Wish family and knew of the annual event as they had helped in the past with other families.
For Christmas this year, his parents thought Gunner would love a microphone that plays music as he loves singing and dancing.He plays with one at his clinic visits & it’s a hit for sure!His 15-year-old sister, Lillie is a typical teenage girl who loves clothes and make-up.13-year-old brother, Tony Joe, was hopeful for a Bluetooth PS4 game headset and likes Anime & Dragon Ball Z.11-year-old brother, Zack, loves camo anything.3-year-old twins, Bo & Lucas, love cars, trucks, stacking/sorting items, Lego Duplo & Lincoln Logs. Being so close in age, Gunner loves playing with whatever Bo & Lucas have as well.Sharing is caring, right?😊
Gunner’s parents would not ask for anything for themselves as they stated “we just want our children to have a nice Christmas and ask for prayers for our family & any other family that have kids fighting cancer.”The family shops at Wal-Mart and Kroger for household goods and do like special outings for pizza, McDonalds, Dairy Queen or Krispy Kreme.Gas cards would also be helpful to offset the expense of traveling frequently for his treatments to Savannah.
The family would like to thank everyone for the thoughts, prayers, and generosity bestowed upon them with the Christmas Wish program.Gunner’s parents know their boy is a fighter and think of him as their little superhero, but know all to well that their faith & help from the community make this road much easier.Thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart, Mark.This program and the generosity of your listeners each year touch our patients’ lives in such incredible ways.Words never seem like enough, but truly thank you.
Pediatric Oncology Nurse Navigator –
Memorial Health, Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah
This year 98.7 The River has partnered with Southern Motors Honda, Gastroenterolody Consultants of Savanah, and Howell-Chase Heating & Airto make Christmas Wish possible.