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This Local Seven-Year-Old is Fighting for His Life with AML

This Local Seven-Year-Old is Fighting for His Life with AML

by James Coulter

Luke Shaver, 7, is a plucky young lad. He loves learning about the Titanic and even has many of the dates and number of passengers on the ship memorized by heart. He loves playing Super Mario, and he especially loves animals. Recently, he has been sharing jokes from his favorite joke book.

Luke is super smart and super loving. So, when the young boy was diagnosed with leukemia, he received an outpouring of love from the community.

His ordeal began on a Monday when he was sent home sick. His mother, Judith Shaver, took him to the doctor, but the doctor assumed the boy was doing okay.

The next day, Luke returned to school, but he was still not feeling well. His mother took him to the emergency room at the Lakeland hospital. After some tests, he was rushed to NemoursChildren’s Hospital in Orlando. It was there he received his diagnosis.

“On August 22 around 9:40, the worse words a parent could hear hit me like a ton of bricks,” his mother wrote on Facebook. “It was not until they used the word cancer I understood.”

“I died a little that moment,” she wrote. “My heart wasn’t beating. My world crashed. How did my son…Luke of all people have cancer?”

Luke was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a rare form of Leukemia that affects 700 people under the age of 20 each year, with 500 affecting young children like him.

Compounding matters further was that leukemia cells were discovered in his spinal fluid, which makes treatment from chemotherapy even more difficult, explained Cody McCain, a close friend of the family.

Seeing the young boy suddenly struggling within an inch of his life from cancer has proven most devastating for both his mother and father, Jeremy; yet the outpouring of love and care from the community since then has been overwhelming.

“The community has been amazing,” McCain said. “Luke’s mom and dad, they are not asking for anything, there is nothing in this world material-wise that they want or need. All they are asking for is the community to pray. Anyone who hears about Luke, we just want prayers. That being said, the community has been amazing.”

On Friday evening, Eric Miner, State Boss of the Legion of St. Michael Polk County chapter, hosted a Bike Night at Tanner’s Lakeside with a live performance by local band Conspiracy Theory, merchandise by Ten-86 Outfitters, and specials like $1 wings and $2 Jell-O shots. His event raised $452 for the Shaver family.

A similar event has been planned for Sat. Sep. 9 at Beef O’Brady’s in Lake Wales from 11 AM – 2 PM. The event will feature a donation box along with three businesses raffling off gift baskets.

Currently, a Facebook page, Fight Like Luke, has been created to show support for Luke and his family. The page has since gained nearly a thousand followers. To learn more about it, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/820840626112959

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