Travis (2016)

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2016 Recipient Family

Travis was born on February 6, 2007, to his parents, Tony and Laurie, in Melbourne, Florida. He also has an older brother and best friend, Tony Mark III.

“Travis was like any other normal, energetic 8 year old boy who had only one speed- full steam ahead. He not only played basketball for the city of Melbourne, but also dominated the court and rarely missed a shot. Aside from being a superb athlete, Travis excelled in all things math and numbers and prided himself in being a role model student.

On July 22, 2015, after 6 weeks of headaches, excessive tiredness, and un-explainable “weird” feelings, as he would describe it, our family received the most heartbreaking, devastating and life changing diagnosis that would completely rock our world and flip it upside down and inside out. Our sweet boy had cancer.

We were rushed to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando immediately where he would begin treatment in the fight of his life, two short days after diagnosis.  Over the past 6 months since diagnosis, Travis has endured 1 surgery for a port placement; 2 bone marrow aspirations; 9 lumbar punctures (with another scheduled for next week); hundreds, if not thousands, of chemo pills and medication to prevent pneumonia; 10 overnight stays in the hospital; 2 midnight ER trips; needles, needles, and more needles; chemo; mouth sores; 1 hour and 15 minute drive each way to the hospital, 1-3 times a week, every week; and he is considered “lucky” if there is such a thing.  Travis has completed 6 months of the 3 ½ year treatment plan, requiring monthly chemotherapy and lumbar punctures.

Travis is currently being home schooled due to being so immune-compromised, but will hopefully return to his classroom full time by March and is expected to play basketball again during the summer league.

Although we have been thrown this curve ball, we are strong in our faith. Just 5 days before his diagnosis, we were baptized as a family at the beach with other members of Calvary Chapel, the church that we attend. God has been with us every step of the way and our faith has never wavered.

Things have changed a lot since his diagnosis. We are now living on one income; Tony works while I stay at home with Travis. I stopped working and have withdrawn from the dental hygiene program at Eastern Florida State College because Travis’ treatments and the program were both so intense, and I had to focus on Travis and getting him well. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with him. Staying home is made possible by his father who works so hard and through programs like Candlelighter’s of Brevard who help families in Brevard county with children fighting life threatening illnesses financially and emotionally.

Tony and I have been together since 1998 and we got engaged last New Years Eve (2014/15). When Travis was diagnosed we put the wedding off for a little while because we weren’t sure how treatment would go and it was not our main concern. Since Travis is responding well to treatment and he was so excited about the wedding, we have decided to go ahead with it. And after 17 years and 2 children, we are excited to finally officially become a family. Our wedding is even more special now because we can share it with Travis and his brother and I think I also appreciate things more now. Life is precious and you just never know. Things that were important to me last year do not even exist in my mind today.

Travis has come so far yet he has so much more to go. It is our wish that we can spread as much awareness about pediatric cancer as possible. The statistics are alarming and the lack of funding for research is sickening. It is my dream, as a mother of a child who fights cancer, that September goes Gold for pediatric cancer, like October is pink for breast cancer.”

— Laurie Rogers

Learn more and show your support by visiting the Travis Strong community on Facebook.