Bremen cancer survivors meet Jeff Gordon
INDIANAPOLIS — Most of Bremen Indiana’s 4,500 residents know that SPB is shorthand for Shine-Pray-Believe.
The initials represent remarkable community support for three local boys recently diagnosed and treated for cancer within a 6-month span at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.
On Thursday, July 25, sports-loving teenagers Dylan Shumaker, Brock Meister, and Seth Young were expected to share their cancer battle with four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon at the 12th annual Jeff Gordon Bowling Event benefiting Riley Hospital.
They are among six Riley Hospital families invited to bowl at the “Hats Off to Hope” Dr. Seuss-themed event.
Twenty-two NASCAR celebrities were also expected to be in attendance.
Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation will celebrate $3.5 million in gifts and pledges to Riley Children’s Foundation.
“When you talk about kids that need Riley, that person’s me,” said Dylan, now a Riley cancer survivor.
The Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Fund provides vital resources for Riley Hospital and Indiana University School of Medicine researchers seeking to impact treatments, therapies and cures.
Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation will also treat Riley Hospital hematology and oncology patients to a Dr. Seuss themed Child Life party on Thursday morning.
Riley Hospital’s Cancer Center, a national leader in providing clinical care and conducting research for pediatric cancer, treats 85 percent of all Indiana children diagnosed with cancer.
Each year, approximately 250 children in Indiana are diagnosed.
The Riley Hospital Cancer Center’s achievements during the past decade include increasing survival rates by 10 percent for children with high risk neuroblastoma and acute myelogenous leukemia.
Dylan Shumaker, Brock Meister, and Seth Young were the subject of a story in The Bremen Enquirer in March, when organizers of the annual Bremen High School dance marathon incorporated the trio’s fight against cancer into its theme for the fundraiser.
The theme of this year’s event was “SPB for Riley.”
SPB stands for shine, pray and believe, Melissa Manges, BHS guidance counselor, previously said.
“Shine for Seth. Pray for Dylan. Believe in Brock,” she said.
After severe leg pain sidelined Dylan, 16, a sophomore and three-sport athlete, an MRI in June 2012 revealed three tumors on his back.
He was airlifted to Riley Hospital from Memorial Hospital in South Bend and diagnosed with myxopapillary ependymoma, a form of spinal cord cancer.
Dylan underwent surgery followed by 33 proton radiation treatments.
The day after Dylan’s final treatment, on Oct. 12, his classmate Brock, 16, was taken by ambulance to Riley Hospital and diagnosed with a rare malignant brain tumor called a germinoma.
Brock, who had been battling headaches and vision changes, completed a 12-week cycle of chemotherapy and four weeks of proton radiation therapy.
Exactly one month after Brock arrived at Riley, Seth, 12, a fifth-grader at Bremen Elementary School, had a blood test with alarming results.
Seth was admitted to the Riley Hospital emergency department that same evening and diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia the next day.
His cancer is in remission, and he is undergoing a three-year treatment program.
“All of these boys are very brave,” Manges said. “They’ve taught their parents, siblings, friends and teachers what it truly means to live life each day.”
News of children diagnosed with cancer affects everyone. “It has helped raise awareness of childhood cancer in Bremen and the need for funding for research,” says Brock’s mother, Jen Meister.
Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation was established as a non-profit organization in 1999 by the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion.
The Foundation supports children battling pediatric cancer by funding programs that improve patients’ quality of life, treatment programs that increase survivorship and pediatric medical research dedicated to finding a cure.
Riley Children’s Foundation supports Riley Hospital for Children, Camp Riley and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home.
As Indiana’s only nationally ranked and comprehensive children’s hospital, Riley Hospital has provided compassionate care, support and comfort to children and their families since 1924.
Each year children from all 92 Indiana counties turn to Riley Hospital and its regional clinics more than 230,000 times as well as an additional 100,000 times in clinics and hospitals staffed by Riley physicians throughout the state.