Last August, Iz (who prefers never to be called Izzy!) Lawson walked into Luther Elementary School to begin second grade in Ms. Matlock’s class. It was her goal. And her parents say she nailed it.
When school started, she was in the midst of chemo that would end in October, and was a few months past a surgery that partially amputated her leg, a result of osteosarcoma.
Derek and Desiree Lawson told the story from the beginning when their spritely daughter suddenly limped instead of ran down the basketball court just before Thanksgiving of 2014, to the dark day of the diagnosis a few weeks later to the benefit game being held this Saturday night to help her get a better prosthetic that will help her run, and play basketball and softball and anything else she wants to do.
Of course, there were tears in the telling of the story. A story where parents are forced to be instant medical “experts,” make intense and life-changing decisions (with Iz’s input), advocate and be a bulldog, and also still manage work, feeding the dogs and … did we remember to pay the light bill this month? Plus, it’s your baby girl. And it’s cancer.
“She used to be the fastest girl,” her mom said. “She’s not the fastest one any more.”
No melodrama. Cancer is a nightmare. A child with cancer is worse than a nightmare. A child who loves to run and loses her leg to cancer makes us all fighting mad. So a community is coming together to help Iz run.
The game pits the Luther faculty against the ABI team who is coming to town to help their girl, Iz. By the way, no worries Luther teachers, but these guys are beast. It’s going to be a great game. It’s definitely the best ticket to be had in Luther on a Saturday night.
Tickets are $4 to get in. There will be a raffle, things to buy and a bake sale.
Before the game, stop at the new restaurant, Tres Locas. They are donating ten percent of sales to the cause.
The new prosthetic, special because it partially grows with Iz and is made to help her be more active, costs up to $25,000. Insurance doesn’t cover it. Dad is self-employed so we know what insurance was like anyway for their family. Mom lost her job last August due to absenteeism when she couldn’t leave Iz. Life happens. The Lawson family is powering through, looking at their daughter’s life … on the other side of cancer. They are grateful, so grateful to Children’s Hospital, favorite nurses, Dr. Jeremy White, and supportive school, family and community.
By the way, Iz got the “cancer-free” news on December 7, 2015, just about a year before the whole ordeal began with that limp on the court. She’ll retest every three months, before then she’ll be cheering for her ABI players tomorrow night, and no doubt, the Luther team too. Everyone wins.