Holley student’s family thankful for community support in leukemia fight

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 October 2018 at 3:38 pm

Photos courtesy of Diane Valentine: Evan Valentine was up and playing in the teen center at Golisano Children’s Hospital this morning. He received his fourth chemo treatment today since being admitted to the hospital on Friday.

HOLLEY – Evan Valentine, 15, was battling some digestive issues last week. But it didn’t keep him out of school or off the soccer field.

The sophomore plays center defense for the Holley Hawks varsity team. He was excited about Saturday’s Sectional game.

But after getting his blood drawn on Friday morning, doctors were concerned about the presence of blast cells. Evan was diagnosed with leukemia and was admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong on Friday evening.

He has had four chemo treatments with six more to go.

He has also been inundated with love from his classmates and teachers. There are many cards, signed by hundreds of students and staff, in his hospital room. He and his family have seen the social media posts, showing the school community wearing orange T-shirts in his honor on Monday.

“We can’t thank the community enough for what’s going on,” his mother Diane Valentine said by phone this afternoon. “We’re just so grateful for everything the community has done.”

Many of Evan’s friends and teachers have visited him in the hospital. The text messages also keep coming, offering kind words and encouragement.

“It has been overwhelming and amazing and so moving,” Valentine said.

Evan didn’t have any symptoms of leukemia. There were no bruises or fatigue.

His mother considers it a blessing from God that the leukemia was detected early, and Evan is receiving high-quality care at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Evan is a laid back kid, she said, and isn’t complaining about the chemo and the side effects. He has been sick from the treatments, but knows he needs the chemo to get better, his mother said.

Evan is an altar boy at St. Mary’s Parish in Holley. The youth group had a prayer vigil for him on Sunday night.

After 10 straight days of chemo, he is expected to be in the hospital for another two to three weeks.

He looks forward to getting back to school. In the meantime, he is making new friends at the hospital.

“We’ve met some amazing people here,” his mother said.

The family appreciated seeing a rainbow on Tuesday, when Evan was sick from the side effects of chemo. “I think God was sending His love to Evan,” his mother said.

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