Help make Devan's dream come true this Christmas Ligonier, Ind.The saying goes; life can change in an instant and that's exactly what happened to a Ligonier family, fighting every day to stay alive in its heart, soul and mind.Posted: 6:59 PM Dec 22, 2010
Reporter: Kevin Lewis
Email Address: Kevin.Lewis@wndu.com
Font Size: We're three days away from Christmas and you may be feeling the stress of it. If that's the case, there’s a family that will likely make your troubles seem less important.
The saying goes; life can change in an instant and that's exactly what happened to a Ligonier family, fighting every day to stay alive in its heart, soul and mind.
Times could be better along Main Street Ligonier, there's a hope this Christmas may come and go, soon to be forgotten. But Christmas can't stay long enough at 704 South Cavin Street, for fear it may be this family's last.
"January has to be the worst month and year of my entire life,” Robynne Wagner said. "I had a lump on the side of my neck and I knew it wasn't supposed to be there,” Wagner added.
It was Nov. 1, 2009 when Wagner learned that lump was Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There were 11 months of radiation and chemotherapy that followed only for the cancer to relapse this fall.
"There was a point I just wanted to give up during chemo, but every time I looked at my kids faces, I knew I had to keep going," Robynne said.
Her three sons were a rock during trying times until Jan. 5, of this year rolled along.
"It was late at night and I got a phone call, it was from my son's friend,” Robynne recalled.
"The ramp pushed me off and it kind of made me spin a little. So I didn't know where I was going and so I spun right into a tree,” Robynne’s son Cory said about the night of Jan. 5.
"They told me that he had been in a tubing accident, that his head had hit a tree very hard and that they didn't know if he was going to make it,” Robynne said fighting back tears.
The impact caused Cory severe brain hemorrhaging and put him in a coma for nearly two weeks. Surgeons soon removed half of his bone flap to relieve pressure in his skull.
Less than two weeks later, life stacked on a third dose of medical paperwork.
"First it was my mom, then it was my older brother Cory, then the tumor happened to my younger brother," Nic Johnson said shaking his head over his family’s bad luck.
"They just told me Devan had a brain tumor right there in the doctor’s office and it shocked me,” Michael White recalled a year after his son Devan White was first diagnosed with a cancerous tumor.
In the middle of his freshman year of high school, 15-year-old Devan White started his battle with an aggressive cancer.
"We’ve got three different hospitals and we're going back and forth to all of them all of the time,” Robynne added.
Everyone rushed to Columbus, Ohio where doctors quickly removed Devan's tumor, one that immediately grew back.
"For them to go in there and remove any of it, they just can't do it. They can't radiate it anymore; he's had all the radiation that he can have,” Michael said.
"It’s kind of hard to put into words. They told us that the trial study that they were doing on him just wasn't working,” Robynne added.
Confined to a bed, with blankets to stay warm, time passes slowly these days. After all, three grand mal seizures have made communication more challenging. But word of Devan's one-on-one fight, brought a community to stand beside him.
"We had some people give money that didn't even come to the dance,” West Noble High School freshman Josie Gibbions said. “Students were coming up to me saying here's five bucks, give it to Devan,” Gibbons added.
Last Friday, more than forty of Devan’s closest friends at West Noble attended an 80’s dance at the high school, helping raise $300 in his name.
"Here you go Devan, this is a check for $300. We put on a dance for you at the school,” Devan’s friend Chance Chester said at his bedside.
Hundreds of cards, many from strangers line his bedroom walls. One came from Ireland; another announced a tree was planted in his honor.
"Hey buddy look at this, we got more cards,” Devan’s stepmother Margarita White said.
It's the simplest Christmas wish that is guaranteed to bring the most priceless smile.
"Happy holidays it says, love your Nana and Papa George,” Margarita read to Devan as he cracked a smile on his weak face.
Every card, hand delivered to a boy built like a storm trooper and likely to never see another Christmas.
"He’s just been so strong; he's stronger than I am. He looks broken, but he is so strong,” Michael said about Devan.
Life can be trying during the holiday season, but to know this story, no shopping mall or traffic jam will ever compare, to the boy holding on to his window of life, one day at a time.
"If you think you have it rough, walk a mile in our shoes once and then you will realize how good you have it,” Robynne concluded.
If you'd like to help make Devan's dream of getting hundreds of Christmas cards come true, here is his contact information.
704 South Cavin Street
Ligonier, IN 46767
You can also send him an email at: