LENEXA, Kan. – September 1 kicked off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month across the country. A Lenexa school kicked off Thursday night’s volleyball games with that in mind.
“It's just been one big rollercoaster. It's just lots of ups, lots of downs, it's just been one long ride,” said 13-year-old cancer survivor Aidan Loney. Doctors diagnosed Aidan with bone cancer when he was 5. He’s gone through chemotherapy, a knee replacement, and several surgeries.
Aidan’s mother Teresa Loney said, “He was walking kind of with a limp. I knew something was wrong, but I had no idea in my mind that it would be anything like cancer.”
“It's tough. Tt's tough for him. He's not like every other kid in school,” Aidan’s father Rob Loney said.
Aidan’s younger sister Keely said, with all the wisdom of a 10-year-old, “Cancer is just like something that nobody wants, nobody wants to deal with, so everybody just kind of just wants to find a cure.”
That’s why the St. James Academy student body dedicated Thursday night’s volleyball games to raising money for childhood cancer research, through a partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
Head volleyball coach Nancy Dorsey said, “Childhood cancer is really underfunded. The research says it's the least-funded type of cancer that's out there.”
Before Thursday’s varsity game, 13 superstars took the court: each child is a survivor or is currently fighting cancer. The crowd heard each story, and one by one, the kids were honored by name.
Teresa Loney said, “That support just brings us so much comfort, it just helps us in our fight along the way. Aidan’s sister Keely added, “If you believe you can survive, you will survive.”
There are several events planned around the metro for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Alex’s Lemonade Stand is hosting an event called Alex’s Million Mile, named in honor of the group’s founder: a young girl who lost her battle to the disease.
The Kansas City Royals is also hosting “Childhood Cancer Awareness Day” Friday Sept 2, as part of a MLB- league-wide effort. There are several events planned and all proceeds will benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand, as well as Braden’s Hope and Noah’s Bandage Project.