One of Zayvion “Khi” Curtis’ favorite activities is playing with his “really big” red fire truck he recently got for Christmas. Other times, he enjoys rooting for his favorite football team and watching the reality series “Cops” on TV with his father Ray.
“He’s a big Dallas Cowboys fan. He’s really into sports,” Ray said of his 7-year-old. “He likes watching ‘Cops’ on TV, too. Anytime we see one on the street, he’ll always ask what and how they’re doing.”
Khi is set to have one of the most exciting days of his young life. The second-grade homeschool student will ride shotgun in a fire truck and be celebrated like a Cowboys player when he enters the Brown County Relay for Life as this year’s child survivor honoree April 22 at Gordon Wood Stadium.
On Dec. 30, 2015, Khi was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia — a disease, most commonly found in children under age 15, which crowds out normal white blood cells and makes the body fight harder against infections. Because of this disease, he is unable to engage in contact sports and go to public school. Khi was forced to withdraw from East Elementary School after the Christmas break.
With many of their family members sporting orange motivational “#TeamKhi” T-shirts — “I am strong, this will not defeat me,” on the front, with the Philippians 4:13 scripture on the back: I can do all this through Him who gives me strength — Friday evening at a special dinner at the Salvation Army, Khi, Ray and his wife Angelina, were applauded by nearly 70 as they received colored balloons and a -gift bag from Relay Survivor Chair Marian Deans for a formal induction.
“We’ve been here for only two years and didn’t know a lot of people, so for (the Relay for Life) to take him in and be a part of this organization has been real meaningful,” said Angelina, whose family moved to Brownwood after Ray got a job in the area.
As part of his chemotherapy, Khi visits Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth every 10 days for treatment. Ray said though the last four months have been tough with his son’s disease, the fight has brought his family closer as a whole because they’re in it together.
“It’s been hard in a way and a blessing because it has brought us closer as a family — cousins, aunts, uncles, everybody,” he said. “Everyone has reached out to support.”