SHERMAN – Lucas Gibbons is turning 5 soon.
But unlike other children who await their birthdays with gleeful anticipation, Lucas is preoccupied, immersed in what can only be described as the fight of his young life.
On May 7, 2013, the Sherman boy was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that develops from the immature cells within the retina.
Affecting mostly children under 6, the cancer is treated through serious means, including – in Lucas’ case – a removal of the eye.
Despite a successful surgery, Lucas suffered a relapse in July, and is now undergoing treatments at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. He has four months of chemotherapy left.
“It’s so much harder this time because the treatments are more extensive,” said Terri Warner, a customer service representative at the Community Bank location in Sherman and family friend. “He actually missed preschool last year because of this. He won’t be able to start kindergarten either.”
Warner, who remembers Lucas visiting the bank as a shy, tight-lipped boy, describes how the cancer diagnosis seemingly transformed him into a more outgoing person.
“(Lucas) would now come in and talk, sit and put his feet up on my desk and chitchat,” she said. “He was like a grown-up. He’s just an awesome little guy.”
Jenni Eddy, a teller at the same bank, equally praised Lucas’ parents – Melissa and Brian – for their strength.
“(Melissa) is actually the strongest person I know right now,” Eddy said. “I just can’t even imagine having to go through what she’s going through. She’s been keeping it together more than anybody could. She’s a great mother.”
In an effort to continue lifting the spirits of both Lucas and his parents, Warner and Eddy are asking the community to send in cards for Lucas’ fifth birthday on Sept. 10.
“Any kid likes to get mail,” Eddy said. “(This is) just something to lift his spirits and help (his parents) out too.”
Cards can be dropped off at the Sherman Community Bank or sent to: Lucas Gibbons, Sherman, NY 14781.