OKLAHOMA CITY – 13-year-old Bo Mcdonald loves having the “hot hand,” whether it’s competing at the board game ‘Sequence’ with his three older siblings, or getting a clear shot past his younger brother while playing nerf basketball in the front entry of his Norman home.
Bo didn’t start with a winning hand however.
He was an orphan in Haiti, adopted when he was just two years old by Norman Pastor Andrew Mcdonald of Redeemer Church and his wife Christy.
“He’s a happy kid,” says his mom, Christy. “He likes to be around people, to play sports. Wherever he is, he’s happy.”
With five kids, the Mcdonalds know that stomach bugs happen. But last summer Bo experienced continuing agony that eventually led to surgery and a diagnosis 13 year olds and their parents really don’t hear: colon cancer.
Christy shakes her head at the memory. “The surgeon was very surprised. He had not seen this before and he’s done thousands of surgeries, so it’s very surprising.”
“Most of the colon cancer experts say we have no other research except what is done in adults, so treat it like you would in an adult,” says Dr. Joel Thompson from Jimmy Everest Cancer Center.
He admits that childhood colon cancer is a largely unexplored field. Fortunately for Bo, surgery successfully rejoined Bo’s colon after the cancerous mass was removed.
After recovering from surgery, a nine-month course of chemotherapy was launched to tackle the cancer that spread to the lymph nodes in his abdomen.
“We have an uphill fight ahead of us, there is a chance for cure, but it’s going to be a fight to get there,” says Dr. Thompson.
Fortunately, there are a lot of inspiring people in Norman that know a lot about fighting hard for what they want.
Bo’s family has collected a stack of photos taken with top athletes who have visited Bo and encouraged him, including Kyler Murray and other Sooner legends. Norman North High School students raised over $217,000 for the Mcdonalds’ mounting medical costs.
Everywhere Bo turns, there is love and encouragement.
Christy wipes a tear, talking about the outpouring of support and her dreams for Bo.
“I want him to be happy, which is easy for him. He’s a happy kid and I know that he knows that God loves him, and his family loves him.”
Before Bo’s diagnosis, the Mcdonalds went back to Haiti and found Bo’s mother. She gave him up because she didn’t have enough money to feed and care for him, but she loves him and has facetimed him to encourage him in his cancer battle.
And that love is also at Jimmy Everest where his medical team is cheering him on through uncharted waters.
Dr Thompson says with a laugh, “he’s got a wicked sense of humor and he’s just a happy sports loving go-get em type of kid.”
If you’d like to help kids like Bo fight cancer, considering donating to JECFriends.org.