New site; same effortPublished 4:26pm Sunday, July 27, 2014
LASKER – The venue has changed, but the cause remains the same.
The third annual Henry’s Heroes Golf Tournament – benefitting four-year-old Henry Hodges of Murfreesboro who was diagnosed two years ago with a malignant brain tumor – is scheduled for its traditional date (the second Tuesday in August; which falls on the 12th this year). However, ongoing improvements at the event’s traditional venue (Beechwood Country Club near Ahoskie) has led tournament officials to seek a new location.
“The good folks over at Valley Pine (Country Club) in Lasker have graciously allowed us to use their course this year,” said Brandon Hodges, the event’s director and Henry’s uncle. “Valley Pine is a very challenging course, one I think those participating in this year’s tournament will like.”
While the venue has changed, the entry fee remains at $250 per four-person team. That price includes a barbecue lunch, complete with all the trimmings. The meal will be served between the two scheduled tee times (teams can register for either a 9 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. start). Golf carts are included in the entry fee.
Three local corporations – Metal Tech, Diversified Energy and Coastal Staffing – have already locked in their names as the respective sponsors of the tee times and lunch.
However, other sponsorships are available, to include $200 to have the name of your business prominently displayed at one of the golf holes throughout the day. That sponsorship also includes a ticket to the BBQ lunch, your company’s logo on the event’s website and recognition on Henry’s Heroes Facebook page. The latter three opportunities are available for a $100 contribution.
A silent auction, featuring numerous items, is also a part of the annual event.
There are several ways to sign-up to play golf or become an event sponsor. You can visit Henry’s Heroes on Facebook; online at www.birdeasepro.com/henrysheroes; or by contacting Brandon Hodges at 252-209-6491.
Valley Pine Country Club is located at 901 Lasker Golf Course Road, Lasker; adjacent to Northeast Academy.
Henry was diagnosed with a brain tumor on June 12, 2012. The tumor was identified as an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT). The youngster successfully completed chemotherapy, proton radiation and multiple surgeries prescribed by his treatment protocol. He is currently receiving therapy to assist him with his recovery from the chemotherapy that he received during treatment. Henry’s doctors will complete MRIs every three months to closely monitor the tumor for changes.
“Henry is awesome and he continues to amaze everyone,” Brandon Hodges said. “Henry had his three-month follow-up MRI back in mid-May and we received great news, his tumor remains stable.
“We did not get here without a fight,” he added. “Henry has fought harder than any other person I know since that dreaded day in 2012. His treatment was difficult and required more than anyone realized during those first few days of his diagnosis.”
Henry was in treatment for 269 days between June of 2012 and March of 2013, of which he was inpatient in the hospital for 117 days. He has spent July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas in the hospital during his treatment.
According to family members, there were many days during his stints in the hospital that Henry had to spend in isolation. Visitation and interaction with family members was limited as Henry was confined to his small hospital room in fear that he would get sick from a virus or other ailment carried by a visitor.
Henry’s treatment included two rounds of traditional chemotherapy, three rounds of consolidated high dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant, and 28 days of proton radiation therapy.
“Each of these rounds of chemo were intended to knock everything out, all counts at zero, and they did just that,” said Henry’s mother, Melissa Parker.
His treatment required four surgeries, one of which was an attempt to resect part of his tumor. Henry received 10 different chemotherapy drugs, including rescue medications, and 35 different medications for various side effects and infections caused by treatment.
“Many of the chemotherapy drugs that he received were designed for adult cancers, not for his little body,” said the mom. “However, he was forced to endure these drugs and all of their side effects in hopes of saving his life.”
During his treatment he required 10 blood transfusions and 20 platelet transfusions. Henry has undergone numerous tests, including MRIs and CT scans, to check for side effects from treatment. He will continue to have MRIs every three months for at least another two years, then moving to four and six month intervals.
“Henry continues to handle all that he must endure because of this disease and he does it with very little complaint and a smile at the end of the day,” Melissa Parker said.
With the help of physical therapy and occupational therapy, little Henry continues to improve, but one of the side effects of chemotherapy is hearing loss. A recent rest revealed that Henry has severe high frequency hearing loss that will require him to have hearing aids. It was also recently learned that Henry has sixth nerve palsy, a result of his surgery and farsightedness which will require him to wear glasses. Eyeglasses will correct this condition and his family hopes that there is no need to turn to more invasive procedures.
“This year we will be sending some of the proceeds from the tournament to Cure ATRT Now,” said Brandon Hodges. “We are excited to be able to support research that could directly impact Henry’s specific type of tumor. Cure ATRT supports ATRT research exclusively. To date, their primary beneficiary has been Dr. Charlie Roberts’ lab at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Dr. Roberts’ lab is one of the few in the world that is focused on ATRT.”
For more information on that lab, visit www.cureatrt.org.
You can continue to follow Henry’s journey and his family’s efforts at bringing awareness to childhood cancer at Henry’s Facebook page “Parker Hodges” and his Carepages site at http://www.carepages.com, SupportingParkerHodges.