This is Lisa Simons, friend and co-worker of Nate Howells, whom I first met about 14 years ago when he watched my twins at their elementary school’s after-school care program. I’m starting this fundraiser because of serious health issues with his son, Xavier or “Iggy,” and Nate’s resignation from his teaching job because of them.
In December 2017, then 9-year-old Iggy was diagnosed with a rhabdomyosarcoma in his right thigh. Despite the chemo treatments meant to shrink the tumor, it had grown and needed to be removed. In the spring of 2018, the tumor was removed, but so were two of his hamstring muscles. After surgery, Iggy received radiation treatment.
On August 2, 2018, the family received good news: scans revealed the cancerous cells had not metastasized. He continued treatments and PT. His soccer team got shirts that read, “Iggy Strong,” even as Iggy, a goalkeeper, watched the games from the sidelines.
But on October 22, 2018, the second set of scans during his check-up revealed a mass on Iggy’s lung. Two days later, it was removed, but the biopsy determined the cancer had metastasized. (His bone marrow was tested; it was clear.) He quickly started his chemo treatments, which will be intense and require hospital stays, many up to a week at a time. At this point, doctors estimate that he will need treatment for about nine more months. As Nate posted on Facebook, “Things have become more difficult, but hope is not lost.”
Please keep in mind that this is the second son who has been dealt a blow with his health. In December 2015, Iggy’s brother, Casi, on his 1st birthday, choked on a small object and lost oxygen to his brain. After a 72-day stay in the hospital, Casi, now almost four, is at home with 24/7 health care.
Nate and Jackie, Iggy’s mom, will be going to the hospital often. In order to better take care of Iggy, Nate had to resign from teaching children with autism at Jefferson Elementary. If you’re able to help this family monetarily, the funds will be used to replace Nate’s paycheck, which means the ability to buy gas, groceries for Iggy and his siblings (he has three brothers and two sisters), and pay for other expenses during Iggy’s treatment.
Thank you so much for your consideration and kindness, as well as thoughts/prayers of strength, courage, and love. #IggyStrong