"I wish none of this had happened."
"So do all who live to see such times, but it is not for us to decide.
All that is for you to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."

~ JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

January 23, 2003: The Battle Begins Again.

July 21, 2003: Hunter's battle ends in the Ultimate Cure
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Simply scroll ahead to read Hunter's full story.

Hunter and Smudge the day they got the latest diagnosis

The sun smiled down and warmed the chilly March day Hunter Atkinson entered the world. His bright and happy personality brightened every room and many lives, and his personal light has never dimmed.

At the tender age of five, my dear friend learned what it is to be a fighter. Diagnosed with Wilm's tumor, Hunter battled the monster four times. He remained victorious over it for thirty-two months between his third and fourth relapses, almost allowing he and his family to live without holding their breath every day. Now it has returned with a vengeance just six months after his fourth victory.

Hunter has always been full of life and smiling. Hunter's cancer buddy 'Sally' Smudge was a gift to Hunter from Ann Atkinson during his second bout with cancer

Hunter is a very healthy kid. Well, except for the cancer, that is. He has been a success in the agility, conformation, and junior handling rings. He has not only Showmanship wins to his credit, but Winners and Best of Breed wins in the conformation ring as well.
Hunter and Smudge, a SHowmanship team to be reckoned with!    Hunter and Smudge in the breed ring

Words just can't convey the wonderful energy that fills whatever room Hunter occupies. He draws people to him of every age, gender, faith. His outlook always remains positive, and even in his darkest and most painful hours, he comforts those around him.

On February 14, 2002, we got the word. After 32 months in remission, the battle begins again. With the medical community's arsenal nearly exhausted, our prayers are needed more than ever.

Easter 2002
The kids at the Salt City Cluster with buddy James (and Simon!)

The Fourth Fight

Easter Sunday, 2002 - Hunter demonstrates the use of a Tibetan healing bowl to soothe his heart chakraMay 23, 2002: After 4 weeks of radiation and three months of chemotherapy, Hunter's tumors have been labeled "resistant to treatment" and continue to grow despite the barrage of poisons being aimed at them. Hunter's doctors had him admitted before beginning radiation to do a week-long stem cell harvest, just in case. Thank goodness they did.

On June 25th, Hunter underwent surgery to resect his chest wall and remove the tumor growing there. The doctors also removed a couple of small spots that had not shown up on the scans. When the pathology report came in, it revealed that the tumor was not only still living, but had changed in histology. We all wait with dread as July 15 approaches - the date that Hunter goes into the hospital for his second stem cell transplant.

In this procedure, he will receive lethal doses of chemotherapy to kill off his bone marrow, and hopefully all tumors both visible and microscopic. He will then receive his own stem cells in an attempt to "rescue" him. He will be isolated from the world for the 6-10 weeks or more that it takes his body to regain its strength and ability to fight disease. With your prayers, Hunter's strength, and more than a bit of luck, he will win the battle again.

7-24-02: On July 15th, Hunter entered the hospital for what they are calling his "summer vacation in Hell." The first week he received lethal doses of chemotherapy, and then after one day of rest they began the "rescue" phase of the transplant by returning his harvested stem cells to him. Though the drugs have had him very ill so far, by this weekend his body should be reaching a critical stage, where he will fight infection and high fevers, seizures, bone pain, organ failure, and skin breakdown.

The long uphill battle has begun in earnest. The phone in Hunter's room has been turned off because of his pain level and noise intolerance. The mouth and throat sores have begun, but so far the fevers are not as bad as the last time. Perhaps this is because of the reiki that Hunter and his mom and dear friend and advisor Kim have been doing in an attempt to save him from the "cure". Anyone needing to speak to Betsy can leave a message at the 7H nurse's station. If she is able to get away for a moment to eat, she may be able to return the call.

7-31-02: I had the opportunity to visit Hunter two days ago. Despite the tubes and machines beeping everywhere, and Hunter's constant pain, he was able to peek at me and give me a smile and a thumbs up. Though much of the struggle still lies ahead, I was relieved to see that Hunter still retains some of his summer color, and looks every bit the fighter he has been throughout his life. His pain now under better control, he is able to tolerate noise enough to enjoy the occasional movie. Mouth sores keep communication to a minimum, but his inner energy says it all.

8-1-02: It seems that the slippery downward slope is shorter than we expected! Although still plagued by horrible mouth sores and fighting some complications requiring heavy duty antibiotics, Hunter's strength is slowly returning. This morning he has a white cell count of 3, and with the return of white cells comes healing. His doctors are so optimistic that they are discussing sending him home on IV's early next week! This all hinges on his continued good progress and their ability to wean him from his heavy duty pain medications.

8-7-02: Hunter is HOME!!!! Today he dragged all his paraphernalia home from the hospital, and will receive the balance of his antibiotic treatment there. In time we will learn whether or not the transplant has had the desired effect, but in the mean time we are all rejoicing in the fact that he is not only home, but earlier than expected! Now both he and his mom can relax and get some much-needed rest, and Hunter can begin to return to the popular kid he has always been among his friends.

8-24-02: Hunter - complete with his portable IV pack for feedings - joined us the weekend following his release from the hospital for our club's ASCA show on August 9-11. Though he wasn't able to show his dog Smudge, he did find the strength to be a kid. We all shuddered and tried not to watch as he became all boy, engaging in one-kid wheelchair races down the hill and into the side of the barn. Though it was expected that he would need to have another transfusion after leaving the hospital, not only did his blood counts not plummet - they rose!

I visited with Hunter and his family this past week - he's doing fabulously! Mariah has just returned from Camp Good Days, and Hunter - his pic line now removed - has been a huge help to his mother, who required emergency knee surgery on Wednesday. His dear friend and source of strength, Tyler, is never far away and grateful to have Hunter home. We now sit and wait, and pray that his 3-month scans show that his cancer is once again in remission, and remains there until a cure is found.

10-17-02: Hunter and his family awaited the results of his three-month scans with great anxiety to learn whether or not the transplant was a success. The results are in - scans of his chest and abdomen are CLEAR!!! Hunter is in REMISSION!!!!!!!!!>

8/11/02: Hunter and Smudge, together again.
Sister Mariah showed Smudge for Hunter
8/20/02: Hunter and his buddy Elliot stick out their tongues at the camera.

Click to enlarge!

December 1, 2002 - Hunter and Sunny in the Junior Showmanship ring.
Hard to believe this kid has been sick!

Hunter and I, December 1, 2002

Hunter and pal Renee St.Jacques, 1/18/03

With sister Mariah

And Again We Wage War . . . The Fifth Fight

Hunter's greatest ambition is to some day attend Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. His bright and curious mind has grasped every aspect of the treatments he's endured, and these have left him with more questions and ideas than ever. Three-month scans were approaching rapidly when Hunter and I took a wonderful personal tour of these facilities and one of Cornell's fistulated cows last week, thanks entirely to the kindness and generosity of Dr. Debbie Cherney, Ph.D.. Hunter was enthusiastic, but tired and quiet, and my heart sank. Yesterday the news came in: significant and rapidly growing tumors in Hunter's left lung.

The medical community had warned of the grave prospects ahead not if but when the tumors returned, and little has changed in the six months since his second stem cell transplant. Chemotherapy simply destroys Hunter's body, not his cancer. In anticipation of normal lab results to measure his kidney, liver and cardiac function, Hunter's doctor entered him in a Phase I study of the gene therapy drug G3139 in a last attempt to break through his resistant tumors.

"The target of G3139 -- the BCL2 gene -- is a proto-oncogene involved in the inhibition of apoptosis (programmed cell death) of cancerous cells and is believed to be important in a number of solid tumor and hematological malignancies including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, malignant melanoma, breast, colorectal, ovarian and prostate cancers.

The protein produced by the BCL2 gene has two known critical functions in the progression of cancer -- it makes cancer cells immortal, creating a survival advantage of malignant over normal cells, and it confers resistance to radiation and chemotherapy, rendering these treatments ineffective in late-stage cancers.

High levels of the BCL2 protein are associated with a poor clinical prognosis for certain cancer patents. G3139 is designed to inactivate the RNA that produces the BCL2 protein product, thereby preventing cellular production of the protein."


With this new weapon in hand, we prepare to wage war once again. Though it has never been used in children or to treat Wilm's tumor, the drug appears to be tolerated well, and we should know within a month if he will respond to the combination of G3139 and chemotherapy. Hunter enters the hospital on January 29, 2003, to begin a seven-day infusion of G3139 and the chemotheraputic drugs Doxirubicin and Cytoxin. Please keep him in your prayers.

2-3-03: Hunter has returned to familiar territory. He entered University Hospital on January 28 to have a port inserted into his chest for treatment, and was scheduled to begin treatment the next day. Because of difficulties getting the port in (that's one badly scarred little chest!) they delayed the commencement of treatment by a day. It is now five days into a seven-day treatment cycle, and thus far he's handling the treatments well. I have the opportunity to chat with him nearly daily, and last night he had me in stitches, recalling with glee his new knowledge of rumen fluid and its aroma in fast food restaurants, and acting every bit the goofy adolescent he is.

One of our club members phoned the hospital before Hunter's admission to get his address for cards and wishes. Even the telephone operator was familiar with Hunter, and sad to see him return once again. Though he will be home shortly for a couple of weeks, with luck he will return every 21 days for another cycle of treatment - check back here to find out where he is.

2-8-03: I'm told by a nurse on 7H that Betsy and Hunter hit the elevator on Thursday night as the needle was leaving Hunter's arm after the last blood draw! Hunter had a grand old time for most of his stay in the hospital this time, entertaining himself by torturing the nurses and staff with daily pranks (I'm told they got him back before he left!) until the chemo caught up with him on Tuesday. They arrived home late Thursday night, and then returned to the hospital on Friday for more bloodwork and a check on Hunter's fever, which remains constant at 102-104* from the chemo. Though he feels absolutely rotten, Hunter remains upbeat and cheerful, and entertains hopes of returning to school on Monday! Now it's a 2-week waiting game until new scans indicate whether or not the treatment seems to be working.

Please keep not only Hunter, but Betsy and Mariah in your thoughts as well. It is heart wrenching to take your child to the hospital happy and healthy and to bring him home so very ill.

2-13-03: Well, school was out of the question this week as Hunter struggled to maintain blood counts that would prevent the need for a transfusion. Though it was expected, it was unfortunate that as the week passed his counts dropped and today he went in for blood. Though his energy is very low, his spirits remain good, and the wait is down to just one more week before we get results of the first round of treatment.

Dr Dubansky  cuts up in Hunter's room2-17-03: Hunter was admitted to 7-H on Saturday morning at 2am when he spiked yet another fever. He has cultured positive for strep, and although they had his fever down by Saturday, yesterday it started back up. By the time I left him last night it was hovering around 104* on IV antibiotics and tylenol. He was VERY depressed on Saturday, but Betsy brought his buddy Tyler in yesterday and he stayed all day so that Hunter could have someone to be a kid with. While I was there, he was joking and goofing around, feigning delirium and telling me just what a "hot dude" he was. His platelet and white cell counts are pretty much nonexistent. Despite his fever, he is very pale because he doesn't have enough red cells to be flushed. Tomorrow is D-day - they repeat the scans and decide whether or not to continue.

2-20-03: Wow, what a difference a couple of days makes! Two days ago Hunter was battling fevers topping out at over 106* from a combination of Strep G in his throat and alpha Strep systemically. Scans were done a day early to see if the treatment showed any promise, knowing that if it didn't, he could be given the Neupagen that would help him battle the infection. The scans showed no new tumor growth - hopefully a positive sign this early in treatment - and very fortunately, the right combination of antibiotics was found not a moment too soon.

I visited with Hunter tonight, and it's hard to believe that the kid was that sick! He was harassing us all endlessly, enjoyed a "guys" night with his favorite buddy, and nailed his mom but good with spitballs! He also shared with us some poetry he'd written earlier in the day. The first was inspired by an assigned topic:

The hair on my head
His or her head
Brothers' or sisters' hair
Aunts' or uncles' hair
Friends' or enemies' hair
Or even they with no hair
There can be no thorough judgment
Of what lies on the head
But what lies in the heart.
Sometimes your highest destination
Can only be reached
With your own wings,
And other times
It takes 100 hands
To build an airplane

Photos from February 20, 2003

Looking pretty good for a sick kid!

My little bud
Hunter and his mom, Betsy

Hunter (center) with best buddy Tyler (left) and sister Mariah (right)

Never doubt the curative value of humor!

Gary Magi, one of Hunter's top supporters and best buds, has gone out of his way to visit with Hunter every single day! He has also shaved his head with Hunter every time Hunter has lost his hair.

Hunterand pal Magi...shaving of the last of the peach fuzz What Cancer Can't Do
Cancer is so limited.
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the spirit.

~Author unknown~

3-2-03: Hunter returned home from the hospital on February 21, dragging along an IV pole and thrice-daily antibiotic treatments. While he has enjoyed being home again, his blood counts have failed to rebound, and transfusions have been necessary to keep him at nearly safe levels. The current concern is whether or not his counts will return to a level that will enable him to remain on the study, and later this week scans will be taken to reevaluate the status of things. In the mean time, all treatments have been paused until Hunter's blood counts rebound.

3-9-03: Ten days from Hunter's thirteenth birthday, the Atkinsons are in a holding pattern. Hunter has been removed from the G3139 study because his bone marrow is simply too tired to handle the strain of chemotherapy, and there are no conventional treatment options remaining. His blood counts are rising slowly but are a long way from being able to endure more treatment, and it is suspected that the tumors are growing once again. Hunter has asked to return to a more holistic approach, at least for the time being, and is on a variety of anticancer herbal treatments as well as reiki. His spirits are probably lower now than they ever have been, but a "guy" weekend with his buddies and a visit from Jules (of the acoustic duo Jules & Dami, above) have lifted them a good deal. The Ithaca, NY duo have generously offered to donate a portion of all proceeds from select performances, CDs and photos to Hunter to help assist with his expenses! THANKS GUYS!!! Jules with 'Mr. Clean'

3-20-03: Hunter's thirteenth birthday has come and gone now. Today's blood tests show that his counts have risen to a point where they can consider finding a new clinical trial for him to attempt, though what and when that will be is still undetermined. Scans revealed that, as suspected, the tumors are still growing. Hunter would ideally like to try an alternative natural therapy, so the search is on to find one among the thousands that sounds promising. Unfortunately, these are very expensive and not covered by insurance. Please hope and pray that we can locate a solution!

March 19, 2003 - Hunter's 13th birthday
Hunter with Betsy and Mariah

March 27, 2003 - Salt City Cluster
Hunter with his boy Kodak.


4-2-03: Wonderful news today on a couple of fronts! First, Hunter had a wonderful weekend in Syracuse showing his dog Kodak. While they didn't take the points, Hunter was once again able to participate for the love of the sport, and was surrounded by many near and dear to him. Second, yesterday we learned that Hunter has been accepted into an open study at NIH in Maryland, and they leave next week for the first round of treatment! This study is for a new class of anti-cancer drugs that works by binding with proteins called tubulins in the cancer cells and preventing them from dividing and proliferating. Every crossable body part is crossed at this end!

4-9-03: Hunter and family left for Bethesda, MD early on April 7th. A recheck of his status showed no significant tumor growth since his last scans in March, and he started the new treatment today. So far, so good! Thankfully, NIH is splendidly set up to handle families of ill children. The three of them plus their fabulous Grammy are all staying in the Children's Inn where they have pleasant accommodations and other families and support staff to interact with. For those wishing to send their wishes, the address is:

Hunter Atkinson-D6
The Children's Inn
7 West Drive
Bethesda ,Md. 20892

4-21-03: Well, the family returned from Maryland on Wednesday! The treatment has so far proven rather mild and quite tolerable, though a fever - another case of strep - sent Hunter to the hospital on Friday night. He was home (fever and all) by Saturday, and we all enjoyed a wonderful Easter dinner on Sunday. Just before Hunter left for Maryland, a song in his honor was recorded and has been made available for all: Hunter's Song

5-3-03: Hunter, Betsy and Mariah made another trip to Maryland this past week for reevaluation and an additional round of treatment. The news was not what we'd hoped for, but at the same time, was not as bad as it could have been. Hunter went in with the conviction that his tumor would be gone, but what was discovered was that there are multiple tumors which have had a small amount of growth (less than 10% in the past three weeks). The additional tumors were not new to the doctors, but were to Hunter and his family, and this combination of news has delivered a devastating blow to all of them, but especially to Hunter, who has put great faith in his body's ability to heal itself. While the doctors there consider this to be "stable" disease, he will remain on the treatment only as long as the growth doesn't exceed 16% from their baseline (last month). So, thinking positively, let us hope for less than 6% growth in this round, no growth in the next round, and then a regression of the tumors in the rounds beyond that!

In the mean time, Hunter is generally feeling physically well, attending school, playing with his buddies... please keep him in your thoughts now as always.

Photos from Mother's Day weekend


5-20-03: A brief message from Betsy today:

Dear Friends,
We are in Maryland as I write this. We have devastating news. Scans show that Hunters tumors are growing rapidly. A large mass has been detected behind his heart. This is most likely the reason behind his increasing chest pain. Hunter has been taken off the study. With no options available at this time, we will head home with a heavy heart. Please no phone calls.(e-mails are fine)...I can't put voice to this pain just yet.

Hunter on the trampoline, 6-15-036-1-03: For those of you who are wondering, I felt an update was in order, but what to say? Hunter is home and enjoying life, playing with his buddies, tormenting his sister, and just generally being himself. He is starting to have some of the first effects of his rapidly-growing cancer (outside of the effects of chemo) as the tumor behind his heart presses on a nerve in his chest, causing severe shoulder pain. His hair is growing in again, straight and as red as ever!

6-4-03: X-rays earlier this week showed no huge changes in the short time since the last check of Hunter's tumors. Hunter has opted against a highly experimental chemotheraputic drug, but has thrown himself with full force back into his raw organic diet, continues with reiki, and the herbal supplements from his homeopath in Florida (Dr. Morrison). He has a wonderfully positive attitude about his prospects on this path, and has had little or no pain for most of this past week! He is actually very healthy and happy, and enjoying simply being a teenage boy.

Hunter and Betsy, 6/28/036-14-03: Scans yesterday revealed that the current approach to Hunter's treatment is not providing the miracle we'd prayed for. Hunter is far from giving up, however, and begins a new off-study, pre-trial chemotherapy drug on Monday. Keep your fingers crossed!

7-7-03: Updates lately have been very hard to post, though I know many of you are anxiously awaiting news. We had hoped that the next update would bear positive news, but the experimental treatment has not been effective, and the cancer continues to spread at an alarming rate. With tumors filling his chest, abdomen, and into his throat, Hunter has not got the strength for activity other than travel from room to room, and paralysis of his vocal cords on one side makes it very difficult for him to swallow and speak. Though the entire family appreciates and is shocked and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and wishes they are receiving, the constant stream of visitors, phone calls, and the turmoil of life has them all exhausted, so please be patient if your messages are long in being returned.
July 10, sleeping soundly through a fever, and beautiful even now 7-10-03: I had the joy of visiting with Hunter this evening, a visit I wanted to last forever. He has so very much to say, and so little energy to say it with. He shared with me his "Cure" book, a composition book in which he has organized ideas for cancer research. His last idea, #9, he dictated to Pastor Wendell: "The ultimate cure - Heaven".

He asked if I had updated this site, what I'd told you all. I told him, and he has some tremendous messages for all of you. Tomorrow I will see about having him dictate them to me, but to paraphrase in the mean time, Hunter says to keep faith strong, as he still does. He still has hope and believes in miracles, and wants everyone else to do the same. As for him, he knows what his probable path is, how his end will likely arrive, and though angry and frustrated, he is not afraid. Don't be sad for him, and have faith in God.

7-16-03: Hunter has reached a point where his days are filled with peaceful repose...he was still faking seizures on Friday to get reactions (a TOTALLY typical Hunter thing to do!), singing how he was too sexy for his boxers, and Saturday he asked his pastor for prayers for peace in his passing - not for himself but for those he leaves behind. He sat up then and gave hugs all around, made sure his mom and sister would be OK, told us all how blessed he was, and then shut his eyes and went back to sleep. He sleeps deeply now, except for brief moments of communication. He is on a morphine pump, and is at home on his couch surrounded by the people he loves. His parents have not left his side in a week for fear of missing his last breaths. Yesterday he sat up a bit and said heard his grandma calling him, and Betsy told him to go and give her a big hug. Hunter's spirit so loves life that it is hard for him to go.

Hunter did have the opportunity on Friday to videotape an incredible message to the world, and as soon as I am able, I will post this. To all of you - he has asked for your continued prayers for his passing and his family's well-being.

7-18-03: Hunter remains largely unchanged over the past couple of days. We think that he is still waiting for his miracle, and not giving up until the very last. I am very grateful that he was able to record his message to the world last Friday while he still had a moment of strength - it is difficult to hear because of his inability to breathe and the paralysis of his vocal cords, but could be made out with careful concentration. He was heavily medicated for pain and having difficulty staying awake as he lay on the couch, and the morphine was causing him to itch badly, but his message was very important to him:

Hunter hasn't responded to my voice or touch since last Saturday, but despite this I give him a hello/goodbye and a kiss every time I come and go, and sit with him if the seat beside him is empty. We had to leave to meet up with the "angel" (THANK YOU BRIAN!!!) who volunteered to edit Hunter's video message this morning. I went in, ran my fingers through his tight, soft red curls, gave him a kiss on the forehead and told him "I love you Rocketman."
"I love you too," came his barely audible reply.
"I know, man...I know."

Those four words were so totally unexpected, and more precious to me than all the hours-long chats we've had late at night in recent years. I never expected I'd hear him utter another word to me, and though I suspected that he was taking at least something in from the world around him, his confirmation of this made my heart ache with both pain and joy.

About an hour ago I received word that Hunter has had a couple of small seizures tonight.

Update (7-21-03): Hunter's faith that God would heal him was so incredibly strong... this morning at 9:15am his faith was realized when Hunter received his "Ultimate Cure" and returned home. His passing was so peaceful and he was surrounded by his family in his home. Hunter's incredible spirit simply loved life too much to leave without a fight, and his body - so strong despite the poisons with which he fought his foe - was never frail and had reserves we never imagined.

Hunter's life will be celebrated on Friday at Eastern Hills Bible Church in Manlius, NY, with calling hours on Thursday at Tate's in Cazenovia (flowers should be sent here). He brought together an immense network of strangers simply through the light of his life, and many of you remain strangers to us still. We hope that you will take this opportunity to share him with us again. He requests that the formal attire for this party is bright colors and tie-dye. Watch this site for times.

Hunter's wish was to be cremated and his ashes sent off in a rocket (pyrotechnics fan that he was!), and this wish will be honored in celebration of his spirit. In addition, this site will shortly be converted to a place where his spirit can be shared and renewed through photos, anecdotes, etc. Ther are so many AWESOME Hunter stories out there that I expect to see this site filled in no time (someone had better share stories such as the infamous "Bite Me" x-ray!). These can be emailed to me at IthacaArcher@aol.com. We'd love to know how all of you came to know Hunter - because we know there are some wild stories of "coincidences" running around - how he's impacted your life, etc.

"Life is eternal and love is immortal; And death is only a horizon, And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight".

--Rossiter W. Raymond


I love you, Rocketman...


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"What can I do?"

So many of us feel helpless in the face of this monster. Wilm's tumor is one of the most under-researched childhood cancers because it is considered one of the most curable. Of the 5-6% of childhood cancers which are Wilm's, the 5 year survival rate is over 92% at the moment. What they fail to note is that once Wilm's recurs, the odds for a true cure plummet. The fact is, a successful stem cell transplant will buy time - hopefully until there are better treatment options available - but is not likely to be a cure. What you can do to help Hunter and all of the other children fighting Wilm's now and in the future is to raise awareness of the disease in hopes of boosting funding for research. Perhaps the next time his scans show a shadow, your impact will be felt in a successful, lifesaving cure.

Karen & Bill White of Naperville, IL have been raising money for unfavorable tumor research in memory of their daughter, Paige. Paige lost her battle to Wilm's Tumor on December 22, 2001. Paige was diagnosed with unfavorable tumors (which means she had deformed cancer cells within the cancerous tumor). If you are interested in donating to the study, please forward your donation including Paige White's name (so that the funds may be allocated appropriately) to:

National Wilms Tumor Study Group
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
1100 Fairview Avenue N.
P.O. Box 19024
Seattle, WA 98109

In the mean time, please take a moment to keep Hunter and his mother and sister in your prayers, and send them your positive thoughts and energies. You can visit the website outlining his entire battle at "We Love Hunter," and can find contact information for updates and assistance at "Friends of Hunter". Please take a moment to sign Hunter's guest book or drop him an encouraging e-mail.


We would like to extend an enormous thank youto Joni Johnson and Kelly Bonilla, who raised money during Hunter's fourth fight through auctions and raffles within the Australian Shepherd community, and to "Take the Lead" - an organization dedicated to provide direct services, support and care for all qualified participants in the sport of dogs who suffer from the devastating realities of life-threatening or terminal illnesses. These folks - and all of you who have contributed to make them possible - have helped to keep a roof over the Atkinson's heads and their utilities on.


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