Henry remains a hero

Published 9:38 am Monday, August 14, 2017

MURFREESBORO – Five years ago, Melissa Parker and Chris Hodges received the worst news that parents can hear….their two-year-old son, Henry, had an extremely aggressive brain tumor.

Doctors said Henry’s chance of survival was less than 10 percent.

But what those medical professionals didn’t know was that Henry Hodges, despite his diminutive stature, possessed the heart of a lion. And, equally as important, the Parker/Hodges families were fighters as well, complete with a growing army of supporters willing to go the extra mile to help them in their time of need.

Five years after Henry was diagnosed with AT/RT (Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor), he has survived to reach his 7th birthday. In March of this year, Henry celebrated a stable MRI and four years off treatment.

“This is huge news,” shared his mom, Melissa.

Meanwhile, the effort to support the families continues, highlighted by the annual Henry’s Heroes Golf Tournament slated for Saturday, Aug. 19 at Valley Pine Country Club in Lasker.

Henry Hodges

The event not only features 18 holes of competitive golf, but a cornhole tournament and a pool party in order to offer a family-style atmosphere, which has been a trademark of this annual gathering since its inception.

“We wanted to give folks unique ways to get involved,” said Parker.

That type of broad-based appeal, along with the generous financial gifts from the event’s sponsors, has led the organizers of the Henry’s Heroes Golf Tournament to donate over $25,000 to childhood cancer research and provide over 200 gifts to children at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD) through donations to Henry and Daniel’s Holiday Helpers.

“As in years past, proceeds from this year’s tournament will be utilized to support childhood cancer research, which receives less than four of the National Institute of Health’s cancer research budget; Henry & Daniel’s Holiday Helpers (providing gifts to children who are inpatient during holidays throughout the year at CHKD); and Henry’s ongoing medical costs,” Parker stated. “We look forward to another exciting year and greatly appreciate any support.”

As mentioned earlier, the event features multiple ways for patrons to enjoy themselves.

The golf tournament will be structured the same as in the past with two tee times, 9 a.m. and 1:30 pm, with a BBQ lunch and awards ceremony. Registration for the golf opens at 8 a.m.

A silent auction will be held over the course of the event featuring a variety of items that will appeal to everyone. The auction items will be uploaded to the event’s website (www.birdeasepro.com/henrysheroes6) and online bids will be accepted.

The pool party at 11 a.m. ($10 for adults; $5 for children) and cornhole tournament at 3 p.m. ($20 registration fee per two-person team) are also part of the day’s activities.

There will be a variety of beverages available for purchase during the entire event.

For the golf tournament, there is a $250 registration fee for each four-person team. That price includes tickets to the BBQ lunch.

Other ways to get involved include becoming a Website Sponsor for $100 (name on Facebook Page & Website; one ticket to BBQ lunch); Hole Sponsor for $200 (name on a hole, Facebook Page & Website, and one ticket to BBQ lunch); Morning or Afternoon Tee Time Sponsor for $500 each (recognition as main sponsor before and during event; name on Facebook page & Website; ticket to BBQ lunch; and Pool Party admission for two); BBQ Lunch Sponsor for $500 (recognition as main sponsor before and during event; name on Facebook page & Website; BBQ lunch ticket; and Pool Party admission for two; and Tournament Sponsor for $1,000 (recognition as tournament sponsor before and during event, name on Facebook page & Website; golf team registration for four with choice of tee time; BBQ lunch ticket; and Pool Party admission for four.

Another way to become involved is to donate items to the silent auction.

To learn more about sponsorship levels, registering for the tournament, or donating to the silent auction, contact

Melissa Parker at 252-717-4238, Brandon Hodges at 252-209-6491 or Catherine Parker at 252-396-3535.

Donations can be mailed to Henry Hodges at 115 Jay Trail Murfreesboro, NC 27855.

As for Henry Hodges, his mother said “my little hero” continues to battle.

Following the diagnosis five years ago, 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 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.

“Henry has continued to amaze everyone with his progress since his diagnosis and treatment,” Parker remarked. “As expected he is still dealing with the side effects from treatment that comes with surviving such an aggressive diagnosis and treatment plan.”

Parker said her son was recently diagnosed with Dystonia due to brain damage that he suffered from the radiation he received during treatment.

“This diagnosis has finally answered the question of what was going on with Henry’s left leg along with a list of other issues that have come and gone over the past two years,” she said. “At this point, this new diagnosis is being well managed with daily medication and increased therapy. He continues to be followed by a team of specialists and several therapists to oversee his continued recovery and monitor any new side effects that may emerge in the future.

“Henry greets each new day with a smile and an eagerness to see what the day holds. He has never complained about the countless appointments, medicines, or therapies that he must endure. He has taught us so many things on this journey with him and continues to show us all how to live life full of joy and hope. Henry is our hero,” Parker concluded.

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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