‘Tough’ kid is beating the odds

Published 11:02 am Monday, August 22, 2016

MURFREESBORO – At age six, Henry Parker Hodges may indeed be the toughest kid in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

“Tough” not in lifestyle, but rather in body, mind and spirit.

Four years have passed since Henry, the son of Melissa Parker and Chris Hodges of Murfreesboro, was diagnosed with AT/RT (Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor), a very rare, very aggressive brain tumor. Immediately after being diagnosed he underwent brain surgery to remove the tumor, but the surgery was unsuccessful.

After recovering from surgery, the then two-year-old began treatment at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) in Norfolk, VA. His treatment included two rounds of traditional chemotherapy, three rounds of consolidated high dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant, 28 days of proton radiation therapy, and multiple surgeries.

A golf tournament, luncheon and dance on Aug. 27 at Valley Pine Country Club will benefit six-year-old Henry Hodges who was diagnosed in 2012 with a rare brain tumor. | Contributed Photo

A golf tournament, luncheon and dance on Aug. 27 at Valley Pine Country Club will benefit six-year-old Henry Hodges who was diagnosed in 2012 with a rare brain tumor. | Contributed Photo

In March of this year, Henry celebrated being out of treatment for three years with a great report from his oncologist….his tumor remains stable! However, Henry is still dealing with the effects of a very aggressive treatment plan. He has recently begun dealing with an issue with his left leg that at this point is still undiagnosed. He will undergo additional testing in September along with his routine six month MRIs to hopefully determine the cause. He has started wearing ankle and foot orthotics in hopes of helping eliminate some of the complications from this undiagnosed issue. He continues to be followed by a team of specialist and therapists to oversee his recovery and monitor any new side effects that may emerge in the future.

“Overall, Henry is doing well and continues to teach us all what the true meaning of life really is. He continues to amaze us with his strength and courage. Henry is definitely our hero,” said his mom.

As a way to aid the family with medical costs, the 5th annual Henry’s Heroes Golf Tournament – founded in 2012 by family and friends – is slated for Saturday, Aug. 27 at Valley Pine Country Club in Lasker. The tournament will consist of two tee times (9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. starting times) along with a pork barbecue lunch and awards ceremony. The event will also include a Silent Auction, Happy Hour, Cornhole Tournament, and Dance.

“Last year we raised $16,000 after expenses and as a result of this overwhelming success the family was able to send $9,000 to Cure ATRT Now to support research specifically for AT/RT and donate $1,000 to Henry & Daniel’s Holiday Helpers, a group that provides gifts to children who are inpatient at CHKD during the holidays throughout the year,” said Melissa. “Proceeds raised at this year’s tournament will be used to assist the family with Henry’s continued medical bills, support childhood cancer research and Henry & Daniel’s Holiday Helpers.”

Melissa Parker said there are numerous ways to enjoy the day on Aug. 27 other than golf. They include:

Cornhole Tournament – Registration is $5 per player for the event that begins at 5:30 p.m.

Happy Hour ($5 per person) is for appetizers and one-half price drinks from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Evening Event ($15 per person in advance or $20 at the door) is for a dance featuring music from DJ Jesse Williams and heavy hors d’oeuvres from 6:30-11:30 p.m.

As for the golf tournament, the event is filling up fast. As of Aug. 18, there was only team opening left for the morning round and eight for the afternoon round. Thusly, those interested in playing need to register immediately.

The golf tournament carries a $250 registration fee per four-person team. That includes 18 holes of golf, carts, and four tickets to the BBQ lunch.

Other ways to contribute includes advertising on the event’s website and Facebook page ($100 which includes a lunch ticket), and Hole Sponsorship ($200, which also includes the sponsors name on the website and Facebook page and a lunch ticket).

To register for any of the events or become a sponsor, call 252-717-4238 or visit www.birdeasepro.com/henrysheroes5

Those paying by check need to make it payable to Henry P. Hodges (memo line: Henry’s Heroes Golf Tournament) and mail to 115 Jay Trail, Murfreesboro NC 27855.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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