Young cancer patient pays it forward to his oncologist

Pay It 4ward

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – KFOR and First Fidelity Bank are starting off this new year with a brand new Pay It Forward surprise.

This story involves a little boy who’s been in the news before for his generous spirit.

He is now giving back to the cancer doctors who saved his life.

A tumble off the couch led to a brain scan and a terrifying diagnosis for Gunner Williams when he was just four years old.

He was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, childhood brain cancer.

Kids like Gunner are the specialty for Dr. Rene McNall-Knapp.

Brain tumors are the second most common cancer in childhood. 

At Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, Dr. McNall treats little ones with a big diagnosis and all the usual nasty side effects of cancer, including losing hair, feeling tired and nausea.

“Some of (the side effects) are less well known, like getting a really nasty taste in your mouth when you get your port flushed,” said Dr. McNall. “It’s really unpleasant for a lot of kids. So, having something like a little candy is really, really helpful.”

Gunner is six years old now.

His cancer is long-gone, but the bitter aftertaste of those months of treatment still lingers.

“After every doctor’s appointment, my taste buds wouldn’t taste good,” Gunner said, remembering his mouth tasted like metal.

The team at Jimmy Everest Cancer Center helped Gunner beat cancer and taught him about helping others along the way.

The Williams family started collecting dum dum suckers for the hospital to give to kids during chemotherapy treatment.

Photo goes with story
Gunner Williams

Gunner set up a Facebook page for donations, and he called KFOR to help him pay it forward to Dr. McNall.

“If you think about the way [Dr. McNall] puts others above herself and the hope and the joy, she embodies everything about pay it forward,” said First Fidelity Bank’s James Boggs. “On behalf of First Fidelity Bank we’re excited to do our part to help the kids at Children’s Hospital with $400.”

Gunner recently made a big donation to the hospital: 69,000 suckers.

But, he’s not yet done with the dum dums.

“We appreciate everything [Dr. McNall] does for our families and our kids,” said Tammy Williams. “It’s got to be so hard.”

This week, KFOR, First Fidelity Bank and Gunner Williams are paying it forward to Dr. McNall and her team on the 10th floor at Children’s Hospital, where kids with cancer get a fighting chance to live.

“It has been the joy of my life to work with kids like Gunner and parents like [Tammy Williams],” said Dr. McNall. “I am so privileged. We’re so blessed to be part of [Gunner’s] journey. I couldn’t be happier. Thank you.”

The award is a tangible show of support in a time when all healthcare workers are stretched to the limit.

“We may not be on the COVID ward, but everything has been impacted by having to be in isolation,” Dr. McNall said.

The $400 will be used to add to the trove of sweets waiting for precious patients during chemotherapy.

Dr. McNall should be able to purchase approximately 9,000 dum dum suckers with the $400.

Nominate someone for Pay it 4Ward!

Pay It 4Ward is a program through which KFOR-TV viewers can help someone they know who could use extra cash immediately.

Each week someone will receive $400 cash because one of their friends or co-workers wants to “Pay It 4Ward.”

When nominating, make sure to include your name, daytime phone number, who you nominate and why. Please follow all the criteria when nominating. 

Email all that detailed information to us for it to be considered. 

payit4ward@kfor.com

Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.

Click here for the rules for Pay it 4Ward 

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