In Times of Need, Northeast Pennsylvania comes to the aid of its own. In our regular column, we provide a platform for area residents facing a variety of obstacles to create awareness and connect them with much-needed help.
Who: Nathan Gray exhibits all the energy and happiness of a typical first-grader, and with a smile that his parents, Patricia and Jeff, say can melt any heart, the Wilkes-Barre 6-year-old just loves life. But more than most kids — like his big brother Jeffrey, 7, or little sister Natalie, 4 — Nathan has fought hard to hold on to his. He was diagnosed with a Stage III Wilms Tumor at 2 years old, which progressed from his kidney to both of his lungs despite treatment. To combat the disease, Nathan began intense inpatient chemotherapy, which lasted more than a year. During that time, he endured 10 surgeries, full lung radiation, right flank radiation and multiple instances of a collapsed lung, and he spent more than 100 nights in the hospital. Before he marked his fourth birthday, Nathan had required over 50 blood product transfusions and taken 126 doses of chemo. His care was transferred from Danville to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he continued treatment all the way up until scans revealed a nodule in one of his lungs, which was confirmed to be the return of cancer. Now, having used up all known treatments for his specific diagnosis, Nathan will join T-cell trails in Washington, D.C., where he will attempt drugs that indicate a possibility of success despite his prognosis of a 20% chance at life.
What: PayPal donations can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. A benefit for Nathan is set to include food, live music, basket raffles, 50/50s and more. Admission is $10 at the door, though children ages 12 and under enter for free. Updates on Nathan and events can be found on the Nathan the Super Hero Facebook page.
When: Sunday. Sept. 8, noon to 4 p.m.
Where: Wilkes-Barre Twp. Fire Hall, 150 Watson St.
Why: Proceeds will help cover travel costs for Nathan’s family on trips to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., including gas, tolls, food and hotel stays. It also will be used to support his daily supplements and vitamins plus other living expenses as Nathan’s mom is unable to work because of his intense and often unpredictable schedule, she said.
In his own words: “I know I’m not fighting alone.” — Nathan Gray
Update: Donations are still being accepted to offset the final expenses of laying the late Flor “Mackenzie” Pryzant of Dickson City to rest. Contributions can be made at GoFundMe.com or sent payable to Gabrielle Pryzant at 702 Morgan St., Dickson City, PA 18519. Tickets for a Sunday, Oct. 13, benefit dinner at Dickson City Fire Department also are available by emailing email@example.com.
Patrice Wilding is a 13-year employee of the Lifestyles Dept. at The Times-Tribune, where she worked her way up from a clerk to a web video producer to a full-time reporter, writer and copy editor. An Olyphant native, she graduated from Mid Valley Secondary Center and earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with concentration in media arts, political science and communications from Wesley College, Dover, Delaware. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, Justin, and their son, Johnny. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5369; @pwildingTT