Community’s Commitment to a Single Child Is Electric

Print This Post

by Martha Baker
Dade First-Family Connection Coordinator

It’s amazing what we can accomplish when a community comes together. Local businesses, churches, government agencies, and community members in Trenton, Georgia, recently pooled their resources, and in just nine days, put together a Disney-inspired electrical light parade for Emerson, a local 10-year-old boy battling a brain tumor.

A crowd of 2,000 lined up on Main Street to watch the parade and to support this remarkable boy, who promised to be friends forever with every person who walked by or jumped off a float for a hug. Our Collaborative members were honored to be a part of this extraordinary occasion with our own Moana float. Collaboration may sometimes be messy, but on this night, it was electric.

Here’s what Emerson’s Mom, Samantha Crane, had to say:

My son Emerson, at just eight months, was diagnosed with a tumor growing off the hypothalamus region of his brain and into his optic nerve chasm. At diagnosis, he underwent a biopsy that caused the tumor to grow rapidly and block his cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) from properly leaving his brain. Within a month, he was scheduled for emergency surgery to remove the tumor and place double shunts for draining the excess CSF.

During the surgery, Emerson suffered a double stroke. His right side was permanently affected, and he lost sight in his left eye. He later underwent chemotherapy to prevent the tumor from growing, but after a couple years of stability, the tumor grew again. Despite the use of several different chemo treatments, nothing worked to halt the tumor’s growth.

Emerson went back into surgery last year to remove a large portion of the tumor. Yet his headaches grew progressively worse. His shunt had stopped working, causing the tumor to grow a large cyst that was occupying a sizable portion of his upper right frontal lobe. At this point, Emerson is losing the remaining vision in his right eye, he’s having increased difficulty getting around, and he’s suffering from constant headaches. He started a trial chemotherapy in June—an immune stimulant to help his body recognize and fight off the tumor. We are prayerfully hoping that despite the side effects of severe body aches and flu-like symptoms, this chemo will be beneficial in prolonging Emerson’s quality of life.

Emerson is such a sweet, special child. His will to live is strong, and his outlook always positive. He loves to love. He loves to meet new people and tell silly jokes. On Sunday, his favorite day of the week, he loves to socialize and listen to music at church. Emerson loves all things purple. Recently, due to Emerson’s declining condition, our hospital social worker reached out to Make-A-Wish to help us make his wish for a hot tub come true. His second wish was to see the Electrical Parade one last time at Disneyland before it ended. Because Emerson cannot travel in his condition, nor could we afford that trip, my best friend, Tara Page, suggested throwing a small light parade for him in front of our home. The parade idea kept growing, and the community decided to move the parade to town for everyone to enjoy. I had no idea that it would ever grow as large as it has, but I’m so thankful for the love and support of all those in our community that have come together to honor Emerson with this night.

Read Encouraging Words’ story, “A Community Loves a Little Boy.”