EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

January 22, 2014

Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for recent newsmakers

CHEERS to Allison Hawkes, who is recovering from a fourth bout with cancer. In March, the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care will present Hawkes with its Award for Courage.

Hawkes beat cancer three times as a child. As a toddler, Hawkes had neuroblastoma, a type of cancer afflicting the sympathetic nervous system.

Then, just after she graduated from Methuen High, Hawkes, 19, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, in her right leg. The cancer delayed her entry into college and meant another year of chemotherapy.

“It took a huge toll on me emotionally and physically, going back to the hospital and not being able to have my life,” Hawkes told reporter Douglas Moser. “That was the worst part.”

The cancer forced Hawkes into a difficult decision -- keep her leg or have it amputated below the knee. Hawkes decided to keep her leg. She had surgery to remove four inches of her tibia, which was replaced with donor bone. Doctors told her the donor bone would remain fragile, so sports like skiing or skydiving were out. So Hawkes immediately signed up for skydiving, hoping to get a jump in before her surgery. Unfortunately, her jump was cancelled due to bad weather.

So far, Hawkes has had her bone surgery, two follow-up surgeries and 29 weeks of chemotherapy. Now, she is out of a wheelchair and getting around with a brace and crutches.

Hawkes certainly has earned an award for courage. Faced with so much adversity, it would be easy to give up. But Hawkes wasn’t interested in the easy way out. She would rather fight. We honor her decision and her courage and wish her the best.

CHEERS to Kaden Connell, 10, and Kody Connell, 7, two Haverhill boys who wanted to help animals through a donation to the MSPCA Nevins Farm in Methuen. So the brothers decided to make loom bracelets -- woven rubber bands worn on the arm by fashionable kids these days -- and sell them at their mom’s hair salon, Salon 322 in Haverhill. Together they raised $100 and donated it to Nevins Farm.

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