ZEPHYR — Speaking at a pep rally Friday in the Zephyr High School, Goldthwaite mom Melissa Hamilton told students about superheroes.
Hamilton said she knows first hand what a real superhero looks like — her son Luke, who died in November at age 7 from a brain tumor.
Hamilton, accompanied by her daughters Halee Head, 21, and Emma Head, 15, stood on the gym floor and faced bleachers filled with students. Hamilton stood next to a group of Zephyr cheerleaders who held a poster-sized photo of a smiling Luke Hamilton.
Hamilton spoke as part of the school’s “gold pep rally,” and was invited to the school to help bring attention to Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which is September.
English teacher and coach Deann Perkins, whose son, Cade, 11, is a leukemia survivor, introduced Hamilton to the students.
Hamilton said her son began getting very sick about a year ago and was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was removed in a six-hour operation. The tumor came back, and doctors could not save Luke.
“I certainly never thought my child would get cancer, but he did,” Hamilton said. She said her son’s illness transformed him from being “a happy-go-lucky, energetic, smart young man” into a boy who had trouble with memory and speech and could no longer walk without help.
“After Luke passed away, I began to notice so many stories of other kids with cancer,” Hamilton said. She said those children wake up each morning not knowing what the day will bring — perhaps relaxing at home, or it could mean having a large needle shoved into their to receive chemotherapy.
The children often struggle with eating and suffer from radiation burns “but they keep going,” Hamilton said. “My mom once told me that when you think they can’t possibly take any more, they amaze you. They grab onto something inside of them and fight amazingly hard.”
The children’s families are also superheroes, Hamilton said.
“Even when the odds are stacked against them, they find a glimmer of hope in the dark. I will tell you to find the good in everything and never lose hope.”
Hamilton invited any children present who have fought cancer or their family members to join her.
Representatives of three families left the bleachers to stand with Hamilton including Perkins’ son, Cade, her daughter, Codi and her husband, Chad.
Also present were Brandi Bishop, a cancer survivor, and Peyton and Heather Johnson, who se son, Cade, an Early student, died of cancer in 2013 at age 9.