LET US INTRODUCE OURSELVES
Let me tell you a story about a young man. A young man who lived life BIG and didn’t let the grass grow under his feet. This young man’s name is Gavin.
Gavin loved all things outdoors: hunting, fishing, hiking, dirt bike riding, the breathtaking view of mountains, and the beauty of sunsets; and all things diesel: trucks, tractors, and heavy equipment.
Needless to say - camo, mud, oil, and a camera were some of his loyal friends 😉 He had a smile that could light up an entire room, a work ethic that was strong, and grit to match.
In 2020, Gavin was diagnosed at 17 years old with Osteosarcoma. What we thought was a dirt bike accident, turned out to be one of the worst things anyone can hear – ‘it’s cancer’. Gavin immediately began what is called MAP treatment - weekly hospital in-patient, IV chemo treatments that consist of 3 chemotherapies. Each of them different, yet each a monster. At first diagnosis, the cancer was not detected in his lungs (in Osteosarcoma, this is where the cancer likes to try and take up residence). The luck ran out quickly & his oncology team discovered 5 spots in his lungs just 3 months later…all while he was receiving chemotherapy. Gavin courageously endured the MAP treatments, multiple surgeries – the last one leaving him with approximately 1.5 lungs in total – and different experimental oral medications in an attempt to slay this beast. Nothing was stopping it; nothing was slowing it down. Out of options, we traveled to MD Anderson in Texas for hopes for a clinical trial.
Gavin was to begin the clinical trial on July 12th, 2021. On this day, we had the conversation with the oncologist about the dangers of proceeding. He stated he would fight if Gavin wanted to fight, but he was afraid he would never go home again. July 14th, 2021 – with his family surrounding him in love, Gavin made the decision to come home. July 15th, 2021 – we all had one of the most precious nights we will never forget. July 16th, 2021 – we loaded up to come home to Michigan. Gavin’s dad & stepdad drove 24 hours straight to get him home. July 17th, 2021 – we arrived home, hospice met us. July 18th, 2021, at 19 years old, around 6am our precious, and fiercely brave, Gavin went home to Jesus.
Gavin was so full of life. But osteosarcoma is aggressive...viscous...and plain does not care about the damage and sadness it leaves in its wake. If sheer courage, resilience, and faith could have slain this dragon, Gavin would have claimed victory 100 times over. Gavin fought HARD, always with a smile and a wit that went for days 😊 Both of his oncology teams fought HARD, harder than I ‘ve ever seen anyone fight for a child that was not theirs.