‘I fight for my son ev­ery day’

Thorold fire depart­ment car wash on Satur­day to ben­e­fit Adam’s can­cer fight

The Welland Tribune - - Local - CH­ERYL CLOCK

Full meals are dropped off at their house.

A com­plete stranger paid their restau­rant din­ner bill.

The Ni­a­gara IceDogs treat them like fam­ily.

Some 40 peo­ple shaved their heads bald in hon­our of their eight-year-old son.

Ev­ery Wed­nes­day his ele­men­tary school floods the hall­ways with blue. Stu­dents, teach­ers and staff wear royal blue Team Egerter T-shirts and bracelets spe­cially made to sup­port the fam­ily. And more.

And at the cen­tre of it all is eight-year-old Adam Egerter.

Adam has brain can­cer. Medul­loblas­toma. A tu­mour larger than a big grape was re­moved from the lower back part of his head in March. He fin­ished seven weeks of 31 ra­di­a­tion treat­ments, plus a once-a-week chemo­ther­apy trial, last Fri­day.

And this week, he re­turned to his Grade 3 class at Rich­mond Street Pub­lic School.

Some­time soon, he will be­gin six months of chemo­ther­apy. Once ev­ery month, he will spend at least three days at the Ju­ravin­ski Can­cer Cen­tre, as he re­ceives a chemo­ther­apy drug through an IV line.

And his fam­ily is thank­ful — as over­whelm­ingly ap­pre­cia­tive as the com­mu­nity is sup­port­ive.

“When peo­ple you don’t know help you, it’s over­whelm­ing,” says dad Jay Egerter.

On Satur­day, the Thorold fire depart­ment is or­ga­niz­ing a fundrais­ing car wash for the fam­ily. The event runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rich­mond Street Pub­lic School, and in­cludes a bar­be­cue, fire trucks and the req­ui­site ap­pear­ance by Sparky the fire dog.

“It’s a fam­ily event for us,” says Brian Dick­son, Thorold fire chief.

“If one of us hurts we’re go­ing to rally around them no mat­ter what.”

Jay has been a vol­un­teer fire­fighter at Thorold Sta­tion 4 for 19 years. He can see the hall on High­way 20 from his house and he’s usu­ally the first to ar­rive, and most of­ten drives the pumper, when his emer­gency pager goes off.

Fire­fight­ers at Sta­tion 4 are es­pe­cially close. Many are rel­a­tives whose fam­i­lies have farmed the neigh­bour­ing lands for gen­er­a­tions.

“We’re there for our com­mu­nity,” says Jay. “To serve and pro­tect our friends and neigh­bours.”

When Adam fin­ished treat­ment on Fri­day, some 50 fire­fight­ers, friends, fam­ily and sup­port­ers were at the Egerter house to cel­e­brate. They gather to mark the birthdays of each other’s kids, and other events. That’s just the way it works.

Jay drives a city bus for St. Catharines. Tanya is a care­taker for Dis­trict School Board of Ni­a­gara, based at East­dale Sec­ondary School in Wel­land. Both have been off work since ear­lier this year.

Last fall, a few odd, un­char­ac­ter­is­tic events caused Adam’s par­ents, and then doc­tors, to be con­cerned. Adam had a headache at school and felt tin­gling on his left side. He was taken to hos­pi­tal by am­bu­lance. A few days later, he walked into a bed­room door and told his mom he didn’t see it. And right be­fore a St. Catharines CYO Mi­nor Hockey game, his head hurt so much it made him cry. The right side of his body tin­gled from head to toe.

Sev­eral tests, MRIs and a CT scan later, he ended up in the oper­at­ing room at McMaster Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, where as much of the tu­mour as pos­si­ble was re­moved and biop­sied.

The di­ag­no­sis of brain can­cer came in March, af­ter the Fam­ily Day week­end.

Mak­ing life eas­ier, is a sup­port­ive com­mu­nity. Ran­dom and planned acts of kind­ness.

When they told Adam’s hockey coach, Jim Schreiber, that their son couldn’t fin­ish the sea­son, he found them some fun op­por­tu­ni­ties with the Ni­a­gara IceDogs. Adam dropped the puck at cen­tre ice dur­ing a play­off game, and him and his 11-year-old brother, Christo­pher, were given hockey sticks au­to­graphed by their favourite play­ers. The fam­ily had a stand­ing in­vi­ta­tion into the press box by CKTB’s Ted Lehman. The play-by-play an­nouncer vis­ited Adam in his dressing room af­ter his fi­nal game, and pre­sented him with a signed IceDogs jer­sey.

One night, they were hav­ing din­ner at The Over­time Pub in Thorold when a woman rec­og­nized them from so­cial me­dia posts, and paid for their meal. Its own­ers also send food their way.

Stu­dents at Adam’s school were given blue bracelets to wear. Words on the out­side read: No one fights alone #teamegerter.

Friends set up the Go­FundMe page Help Adam Fight Can­cer and a crowd sourc­ing sched­ule on Meal­train.com to or­ga­nize home­made meals.

All for one lit­tle boy who has a big fight.

On the back of Jay’s T-shirt, are the words he lives by: I don’t run. I don’t walk. I fight for my son ev­ery day.

CH­ERYL CLOCK THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Eight-year-old Adam Egerter gets ready for a car wash and bar­be­cue on Satur­day. The Thorold fire depart­ment is or­ga­niz­ing the fundraiser at Rich­mond Street pub­lic School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Adam is fight­ing brain can­cer. His dad, Jay, is a vol­un­teer fire­fighter at Sta­tion 4.

CH­ERYL CLOCK THE ST. CATHARINES STAN­DARD

Adam's dad, Jay, wears a T-shirt in hon­our of his son who is fight­ing brain can­cer.

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