first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“My name is Nathan,” he began. “For a whole year I have been fighting cancer. On Tuesday, April 11, I will go for my last round of chemo. I want to thank all the people who helped my family and me through this hard year. They all helped me see another day.” What he knew about cancer was this, Nathan said: There was no cure and people died from it. “I thought I would die, but I didn’t cry. My mom was really sad, though,” he said Thursday after returning home to Valencia from his last two-day chemo session at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. I wanted to talk to him because a letter to the editor didn’t seem like enough. The kid deserved a column for realizing at such a young age that you don’t beat something like cancer alone. It takes a team, and he had a heck of a team, the kid says. While his mom sat at the family computer last week waiting, 12-year-old Nathan Crookston searched for the right words to tell her. He had to write a newspaper “letter to the editor” to earn his Boy Scout merit badge in communications, and the rules said it really didn’t matter what the letter was about. But after the year the kid had been through, he wanted this letter to count for something, so he was taking his time. He had a lot of people to thank for still being alive. There were his pals, Jackson Stallings and Chris Todd at Meadow Elementary School in Valencia, who never turned their backs on him, no matter how sick he got or how long he was out of school recovering from his chemo treatments. “When I told them I only had a few more chemo sessions left, they started cheering for me – jumping up and down and yelling, `Yeah, yeah!’ We were all laughing.” There are his sixth-grade teachers, Kim Beausejour and Heather Foss, who came to his house on Saturdays or sometimes drove all the way down to Childrens Hospital to help him catch up on missed school work. “They didn’t have to help me get caught up, but they did,” Nathan says. Teamwork. There were the nurses and doctors at the hospital, especially Dr. David Tishler, who right from the start developed a strong bond with her son, Kymmer Crookston says. “The first time we met him he asked Nathan a question, and my son started to get off track answering him. My husband and I tried to steer him back, but Dr. Tishler stopped us. “He said, `No, let him talk. I want to hear what he has to say.’ He was that way the whole time through chemo treatments, explaining every little thing he was doing with Nathan, encouraging him and listening to him.” The doc was “a neat guy,” Nathan says. A big member of his team. There were all the people from the family’s church who prayed for them and brought dinners over when they knew Kymmer and her husband, Kim, were dog-tired from taking shifts with Nathan in the hospital. There were family friends, like Bonnie Baca, who spent the night in the hospital with Nathan when an emergency arose. “Nathan was finishing up his treatments, and we waited until the last minute to make sure it was OK to go on a cruise we had planned for our 25th wedding anniversary,” Kymmer said. “We called home every night for three days, and on the fourth night, Nathan’s older sister, Kera, answered the phone crying. Nathan had run a fever and the doctors wanted him in the hospital immediately. “My daughter was so upset, and Bonnie called to tell me not to worry, she was going to the hospital to spend the night with Nathan.” Teamwork. And there were all the other kids with cancer who Nathan met through the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, which offers support services to families with children battling cancer. “They took us out to do special things, like bowling or picking pumpkins last Halloween. We became friends, helping each other.” More teamwork. And, of course, there is his family, Nathan says. His mom and dad, sister Kera and brothers Brian, Kevin and Daryl. The backbone of his team. Nathan ends his letter by asking everyone to support Childrens Hospital and the American Cancer Society. “They helped me see another day,” he wrote. “Please support them so they can help other kids. Thank you for reading my letter. Sincerely, Nathan Crookston, age 12.” If that letter to the editor doesn’t get the kid his Boy Scout merit badge in communications, I don’t know what will. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. [email protected] (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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