CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and every survivor’s journey is different. A senior at Champion High School is pushing through his journey with a positive attitude.
Ashton Lawrence, 17, was just like any other kid going into his senior year. He was a trumpet player in the band and excited to take on his final year with his friends.
But everything changed for him just months before school.
He started getting headaches and the cause was something he never expected.
“It was just crazy that I was thinking they were migraines and they were really a tumor in the back of my head,” Ashton said.
It was a grade four cancerous tumor called Medulloblastoma. It was the size of a baseball.
“The worst thing ever,” said Ashton’s dad, Bruce.
Doctors found the tumor on June 28. Within hours, Ashton was in his first surgery at Akron Children’s Hospital.
“It’s just the reality of the situation,” Ashton said. “At that point, you just — you realize that you have a tumor.”
The next day, Ashton went into a 14-hour surgery in which doctors were able to remove the whole tumor.
“Once it’s out, the fact that it was a full removal was a big deal. That’s when the fear kind of subsided,” he said.
But even with a full removal, it still wasn’t easy. Doctors put him on a rigorous treatment plan.
“It was hard because I wanted him to have that all summer but this summer, you know, he didn’t have a summer,” Bruce said.
Ashton is now in his 20th radiation treatment with ten more to go. In October, Ashton will start 48 weeks of chemotherapy — not the way he expected to spend his last year of high school.
“At the beginning of senior year, it’s kind of difficult because I was in band,” he said. “I had to stop doing band because it would interfere, obviously.”
Still, the diagnosis has never killed Ashton’s spirit.
“His attitude and his personality is so much more laid back, and he has taken it with that ‘What else can I do? I have to do this’ stride,” said Kim Hutchings, Ashton’s aunt.
“He’s just a great kid,” Bruce said. “Other kids could learn a lot from him.”
On Sunday, October 6, “Ashton’s Crushing Cancer Extravaganza” will raise money for Ashton’s medical expenses. There will be raffles, food, prizes, live music and even a chance to win a guitar signed by Kenny G.
It will be at Longboyz Tavern on Cleveland Avenue W. in Champion from 1 to 6 p.m.
If you can’t make it, you can send donations to:
– Misty Jurasin, 715 Champion Ave. W., Warren, OH 44483
– Missy Carsone, 214 Miles Ave. NW, Warren, OH 44483
– Kim Hutchings, 670 Quarry Ln., Warren, OH 44483
– Lisa Booze, 6403 Kale Adam Rd., Leavittsburg, OH 44430