Yesterday I had the chance to visit my buddy Ray and his Family at their home in Everett for a very quick family photoshoot. We had talked about doing photos a number of times over the last couple of years, but the timing was never right. The fact that Ray, in 2011, was diagnosed with Cancer played a large part in their hectic schedules. There journey started in April 2011 when Ray noticed a lump in his tummy. Within the week, after other scans and a biopsy, he was diagnosed with Desmoplastic small round cell tumor. His mother, Shannon, told the doctors right away that they didn’t want to hear stages, percentages or the negatives. Just what they needed to do next. and they would handle anything that comes up if and when it ever does. Shannon took a leave of absence from work and Ray started a grueling, aggressive 8 rounds of chemotherapy, surgery and 6 weeks everyday of radiation which ended in January of 2012. After scans showed no evidence of disease, Ray went back to school. His hair grew back in and normal life returned. His mom returned to her job and got caught back up on bills. Then in December 2012 during a routine catscan They got the news that the cancer had returned. So, the battle began again. They tried 2 more different kinds of chemotherapy which didn’t work and 4 more lumps grew in his chest. Ray just finished his 4th and last kind of chemotherapy that was available, but the cancer remained.

When I walked into their house yesterday, Ray was eating pickles and watching spiderman like every other teenager does. The difference is that He has Oxygen tanks at hand, is on 5 painkillers to help him cope with the pain and has 2 nurses that stop by daily. Now at the age of 14, Despite the circumstances, has retains a smile through all the chaos they have walked through over that last 3 years.
His mother wrote,

We are living life with constant hope and prayer that Ray is going to be cancer free. Its been a long road full of ups and downs, tears, joy and lots of prayers. He has not been able to attend school and has a tutor that comes twice a week. Rays chemo schedule keeps having delays due to low blood counts. His body is tired. But he is still his witty, funny self and always has us laughing:) Isaiah is the best big brother and I hear them cracking up together all the time. Time is so precious and family is everything! Thank you for supporting us and making this journey a lot less stressful. Please keep us in your prayers!

Rays joyful spirit is contagious and reminds us how beautiful life is, even as we walk through storms.

Although He doesn’t always feel the greatest, this brave guy puts on a smile!

Ray and his family have choosing to leave these words as a legacy: Believe & Inspire. Words that will always define them.

This family has been surrounded by so much love during these last few years, and people have even been donating money to help his family make ends meet as they go through this season.  If you feel led to give, you can learn more here: http://www.gofundme.com/franklinfamilyfund

Lets spread the word!