Bradley Wilson, September 4, 2010, Sparta, KY
Where do I start to tell you about Bradley? Brad is an energetic, smart, social, spiritual young man who just loves life. He’s a straight A student in the 8th grade at Christian Academy of Louisville.? He plays football, trains in jiu jitsu, reads avidly and loves the outdoors. Brad made it to the national spelling bee for ACSI (Association?n of Christian Schools International?al) in Washington DC as a 6th grader. He plays the trombone. He’s a crack shot with a rifle. He is thoughtful and kind and he loves God. He has been a leader among his peers in school and at church. Brad is funny and loves a good laugh. He loves his family. He’s a great son, a great brother and a loyal friend.
Bradley turned 13 on August 12, 2009 with a great deal of enthusiasm about becoming a teenager. Over the following couple of weeks, he was practicing football, starting school and he even went on his first rock-climbing trip. In late August, Brad took a hit in football practice and spent the week in unusually high pain. During that week, he also developed a low-grade fever (off and on) that his pediatrician believed was viral. On Saturday, August 29, 2009, we rushed Bradley to Kosair Children’s Hospital when it became clear that something more was wrong. By the time we got to the ER, Brad was already deep in septic shock from a staph infection that was racing unchecked through his body. We later learned that his immune system was basically non-existent because he had leukemia. After 2 1/2 weeks in intensive care and another 2 1/2 months at Kosair Hospital’s oncology wing, we came home for Thanksgiving. Since then, Brad has continued to recover from the septic shock and to fight the leukemia. Bradley is finishing up his chemo protocol in March/April 2010 and preparing to move on to chemo maintenance for the next 3 years. We are very thankful that he is in remission. While we still have a way to go, we look forward to getting him back to school as a high school freshman this fall.
Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Kosair Children’s Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky
What is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)?
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells, the cells in the body that normally fight infections. There are two main types of white blood cells—lymphoid cells and myeloid cells. ALL affects lymphoid cells.
Leukemia cells are abnormal cells that cannot do what normal blood cells do. The abnormal cells are immature white blood cells that cannot help the body fight infections. For this reason, children with ALL often get infections and have fevers.
ALL is also called acute lymphocytic leukemia. It is the most common leukemia in children.
Another great day at the Indy races with Bradley Wilson and his family! This was Bradley’s very first Indy race and I believe now that he will be a race fan forever!
We started our day in the Andretti Autosport Hospitality suite where we got a chance to talk to Bradley’s family and get to know one another. After a little relaxation time, we headed off with Bradley and his family to tour the #37 transporter and a private meet & greet with Ryan Hunter-Reay. Then we scurried off to the next surprise for Bradley, back stage passes to meet Diamond Rio! As the road manager said, it’s like herding cats to get them all in one place at one time, so we settled for a picture with the lead singer, Marty Roe! One or six of them, still a great memory for Bradley as you can clearly see on his face!
After we spent a good 30 minutes with the band, we headed back down to the garage area where we had a private tour set up for the family to learn all about the race car and Nick from the 7/11 crew even gave Bradley a chance to sit in the #11 car driven by Tony Kanaan, a special treat for Bradley that I don’t think he expected!
As the main event drew closer, we walked Bradley to the infield and he asked, “What are we doing out here?” He didn’t have a clue what was about to happen, but he was game for anything at this point. We hooked him up with Ryan and when it came time for the driver announcements, Bradley was introduced right behind Ryan and his story was told to the thousands on hand.
After announcements and pre-race ceremonies as the cars are lined up on the grid, Bradley and his family had the opportunity one more time to wish RHR good luck in the race and also to take a photograph with Ryan, Tony Kanaan and Tiana Bishop, our R4C champion from the Mid-Ohio Race.
After the race was over, Ryan met up with Bradley once again in the Andretti Autosport Hospitality and gave him the shield from his helmet that he wore in the race that evening and autographed it for him as a special souvenir!
Bradley was beaming the whole entre day, you could truly tell that he was enjoying himself immensely, and the smiles tell it all! It’s a great feeling to know that you can make a child’s dream come true or just create a special memory that the family can take home with them and share for many days to come!
Another famous country artist (George Strait) has a song that reminds us of what life is truly about and the chorus of the song goes like this:
Life’s not the breath you take, the breathing in and out…That gets you through the day, ain’t what it’s all about. You just might miss the point, trying to win the race… Life’s not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away!
These events are certainly all that and more and to experience one is to experience a high that can only make one feel proud and thankful to have been a part of!