Hunter’s Graceful Battle

This is a story of courage, perseverance, and victory. A shy six-year-old little Hunter first came to me, his teacher at children’s church, with a depth of soul that squeezed my heart. He climbed my lab and searched me eyes for something only he knew. We became friends, and I sensed it was a precious honor.

As you read his father’s account of Hunter’s valor, would you pray for him, perhaps send him some encouraging words, and pause long enough to allow his story to infuse you own with fresh courage to fight your battles well and remember how breath-taking that is to your Father.

“Six months after he was born, his father left for military duty. This was a pattern the boy would see regularly over the first four years of his life, along with moves to four different homes. At age five, he moved again. This time because his mother, wondering why she could no longer pick him up, sought help and was diagnosed with terminal cancer. That year he watched as she fought bravely in a slow, vigorously contested but ultimately losing battle for life. Eight months after he lost his mother, his father left again for military duty, although thanks to a generous commander, he was able to see him on the weekends. At age six he moved again to a new city. At age seven he welcomed a new mother into his life, a gift from God. At age eight he moved again and would see some stability for two years for the first time in his life. That is, until age 10, when he himself was diagnosed with cancer. Now, weighing the same 67 lbs as his birth-mother when she passed on, he battles onwards.

Johns Hopkins keeps having the social workers check on us because apparently most families at this point in Hunter’s chemotherapy plan really start showing sings of stress and cracking. The Docs here told me that Hunter’s chemo plan is the most aggressive they have in their menu of chemo plans. If his cancer is stopped before it spreads there is a high survivability rate, and if it spreads and takes root with another metastase, there is a very low survival rate, hence the intensity to nip in the bud. We still have intensive chemo through December, then another major surgery on his leg, then 5-7 months of bone regrowth, rehab visits, monitoring, scans etc. All looks good so far, and all is going according to plan, praise God.

Where does the victory come in you ask? Despite all that he has been through, and despite the near weekly chemotherapy inpatient visits, Hunter’s spirit remains indomitable. The Doctors, the PA’s, the nurses, and the social workers have all commented on his steadfastness. He is relentlessly positive, never complains, and is always quick to smile. The inpatient nurses contend over which one will get the schedule to work with Hunter. He is a breath of fresh air to them, and they know it will be a smooth day with no drama in a high-drama Wing. Through it all, Hunter has maintained his peace. He has humbled all of us with his strength. He has not regressed – no, rather he has grown. He suddenly made the leap to drafting architectural sketches in three dimensions and the detail in his drawings is blossoming. When he is well enough, he dutifully embraces his homeschooling. Though he is often in a weakened state and though one might expect the contrary, he continues to GIVE love and energy away to others. It is amazing to witness. This is victory – that in the face of this mighty challenge, this 10-year old boy not only stands firm, but advances. Hunter is doing great. Though he has and continues to overcome much in his short life to date, we know that he will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, that God gives us beauty for ashes, and that He has good plans for Hunter. What a mighty privilege it is to be his father.” ~ Tom Willis, thomasewillis2

To support other children in Hunter’s situation, please visit

“You’re there in dark of the night
While holding the sun and its light
Through the triumph and trials alike
There’s no one beside You…
I live my life to shine Your light
‘Cause there is none beside You God”~ Hillsong United


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