Fire department raises $2,500K for child fighting cancer

By HASKEL BURNS,

It’s been a tough few months for 6-year-old Lane Smith of Waynesboro, who was diagnosed in March with Stage 3 Neuroblastoma.

But thanks to the Hattiesburg Fire Department and its No Shave November fundraising campaign, the journey may be a little easier for Lane and his parents, Amanda and Scott. During the annual No Shave November event, firefighters from around the department pitched in $30 each to grow facial hair, raising approximately $2,500 to go toward Lane’s medical bills and other expenses.

“We’re very appreciative of what the fire department has done for us,” Amanda said. “We thank not just them, but everyone who has done something for Lane – donated or supported him to the fullest – and most of all, everyone who has sent up prayers for Lane.

“God has had Lane 100 percent through all of this, and we can’t thank everyone enough for everything they’ve done for us.”

A check was presented to the Smith family Tuesday at Fire Station No. 1 on Main Street, where Lane was able to tour a fire truck and handle some firefighting equipment, courtesy of Lieutenant Kerry Hardges.

“When this came around, I knew of Lane, and I knew his mom and knew his story, so I presented that (idea),” said firefighter Dalton Delk, who graduated high school with Amanda. “I have two daughters that are around (Lane’s) age, so whenever I saw it going on, I kind of related it back to my daughters and it hit home.

“It’s great, and it’s rewarding to see a smile on their face, especially the kids. When you get the kids in there and they get to jump around on the fire truck and honk the horn, it’s rewarding.”

After Lane’s diagnosis in March – during which time doctors found a tumor the size of a volleyball in his abdomen – he underwent several rounds of chemotherapy before having 100 percent of the tumor removed in July.

“They didn’t think that they were going to be able to get 100 percent – more like 80-ish,” Amanda said. “But once they got in there and started doing the surgery and everything came out – it’s 100 percent gone, and he is cancer-free as of right now.”

Following that surgery, Lane had a stem cell transplant in late September.

“We just finished tests last week,” Amanda said. “All the tests came back good – no evidence of disease, everything looked great.

“He’s been doing wonderful at home, and we’ve almost made it through our 100 days with our stem cell recovery. Whenever we finish that, we’ll be checked back in to the hospital for a few more sessions of immunotherapy. Whenever he finishes that up, if everything still looks great, he’ll ring the bell and be completely done.”

Amanda said although the journey has been difficult for Lane, he’s remained strong through the entire process.

“Of course, he’s been emotionally drained, and physically of course, but for the most part he’s been a champ,” he said. “He’s very strong; I definitely look up to my child.”