It all started with a HUG on Jan. 31, 2014. An urgent care facility sent Damon to a pediatric ER; five hours later the doctor told us he had bone cancer. On Feb. 1, 2014, they performed a biopsy and we found out he had an aggressive form of Osteosarcoma. It had killed 98% of his left humerus bone and he had a very large tumor as well.
He was told early on he would have to have his left arm amputated in order to save his life; however, instead of letting it get him down he adopted ‘Happy’ as his theme song. Pharrell Williams heard about Damon’s story and love for his song through Dad’s radio friends. Pharrell was so touched by Damon’s story of faith, love and happiness that he sent Damon a personal message: http://youtu.be/KtX54oQlLyk.
Through the grace of God, one doctor was able to remove the tumor and ultimately save Damon’s arm. The doctor said Damon’s case is in the 5% of being rare due to size of the tumor and that 98% of his humerus was dead.
Damon went into the hospital on Jan. 27 for his LAST chemotherapy treatment! Feb. 1 marked one year since we found out Damon had Osteosarcoma bone cancer.
In the video, Pharrell said that Damon would take his story and inspire others. I’m here to tell you Damon was so moved by Pharrell’s message that he vowed to live up to it! Damon wanted Pharrell to be proud of what he would do and accomplish.
Since then, Damon has made it a point to be a spokesperson for kids with cancer. He works with Child Life in the hospital and goes to newly diagnosed kids to share Pharrell’s message of hope and happiness.
In April (the day before his surgery), he threw the first pitch to a sold out crowd for the San Antonio Missions. They played Pharrell’s message before he took the mound.
Damon was the spokeskid for the WNBA Silver Stars’ ‘Assist Against Kids with Cancer.’ He spoke on behalf of the team to other kids to get them to be happy and cut their promo: http://www.wnba.com/stars/multimedia/140816_assist_against_kids_cancer.html.
Damon also became the spokeskid for the San Antonio Rampage. He has also been on TV many times:
San Antonio Kid with Cancer gets ‘Happy’ Celebrity Shout Out
He cut a local video for Chili’s when they raised funds for St. Judes.
When the Water Bucket Challenge was going on, Damon came up with a ‘Happy’ challenge and our Facebook page and others were flooded with people doing the dance: http://youtu.be/Jr1woLt5ey0.
His mother and I are even putting everything together to start a non-profit that raises money to help families when they first come to the hospital (a help kit). The Foundation will be called “HAPPY HEROES.” We have already donated over 200 books to the hospital and it will continue to grow.
As you can see, Pharrell’s simple video message has directed our lives for a year and many years to come, just as he predicted!!
If you or a loved one has been impacted by sarcoma cancer, we encourage you to share your story. Sharing your story can be such an inspiration to others who are dealing with sarcoma in their own life and remind us all of the urgency to find better treatments in order to make an impact on the devastation that sarcoma cancer brings. Let your experiences help others become involved with raising awareness!