ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (CBS) — A recent viewer email read in part, “Please consider doing a feel-good thankful story.”
It involves a grateful family – despite having a young boy with leukemia. CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas had the tearjerker on Friday morning, and information on how you can help.
Meet the Schroeder family – Dylan is 6, Klara is 3, and Joanna and Fred are the mom and dad. They’re your typical suburban family.
But here’s where our story takes a sad twist. Dylan is battling leukemia, and he has been for three years.
There were some very dark days.
“He didn’t look like himself. He couldn’t go up our stairs. We had to put him in his own bed because he couldn’t get in,” Joanna said. “It was awful.”
Despite the disease, Dylan’s a fighter. As he was on camera via Zoom, he pointed over his shirt to the port in his chest used to draw blood and add medicine.
He would actually take the vials and syringes out and help the nurses himself.
“He found happiness in that, made the best of it,” Fred said. “We both swear that the first word he said as a baby is ‘ninja.’”
That fitting first word, coupled with a positive attitude and infectious smile, led to the nickname “Ninja Dylan.”
“He’s going to kick cancer in the butt as a ninja,” Fred said.
Indeed, Ninja Dylan is about to defeat his enemy. When we talked to the Schroeders, he was just a few days from his last chemo treatment.
After he takes one last pill, that will be it, and then the family is ready to celebrate.
What does Dylan think about kicking cancer’s butt? He put both thumbs up and said, “Good!”
While Dylan let his thumbs talk when it came to cancer, he’s happy to chat about his toy truck collection. There’s a fire truck with a siren, a utility truck, a flatbed tow truck.
In case you hadn’t guessed, the kid loves trucks and big machines.
“I think he would pick a construction site over Disney World,” Joanna said.
COVID-19 canceled any thoughts of an end-of-treatment party. Instead, his mom and dad are planning a parade outside their Arlington Heights home on Nov. 29.
And they’re thinking bigger than just friends and family.
“I mean cement mixers, cranes, tow trucks, street sweepers, moving trucks, anything that’s big and cool,” Joanna and Fred said.
It’s the true meaning of giving thanks – family, a return to health, and a smiling little boy.
“He’s done. He’s over. It’s finished,” Fred said. “You know, he can get his port out he can live a normal life in a COVID world now.”
And that is definitely worth two big thumbs up.
By the way, the parade is a surprise for Dylan, so if you know him and you happen to be reading this right now, don’t spoil the secret.
And if you have big truck or cool car and want to take part in the Dylan Kicks Cancer’s Butt Parade, email Fred at Fschroeder3@gmail.com.
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