This brave boy is Oland Reece Noakes, he just turned 6 on December 8th. Oland started kindergarten this year. He quickly won over his teachers heart and every class mate . Oland is the son of Tessa Dollar and Bobby Noakes. He has an 11-year-old brother, Bentley.
Oland played his first season of flag football, by far his favorite sport. He only had a few games left in the season when what the family thought was just congestion and swollen lymph nodes turned into an x-ray. There, a mass around the size of a football in his tiny chest.
Oland’s family was immediately sent to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where Oland spent 8 days in ICU because of the size of this mass. It was located in his anterior chest wall, sitting on top of his trachea and heart. For several days the family heard a lot of big words and open ended statements. Lots of big prayers went up relentlessly. After getting a bone marrow sample days later, when Oland was able to under go anesthesia, they finally had a diagnosis. On October 28th, 2021, the family was given the news that Oland is and will be overcoming ALL or Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia with 40% of his bone marrow containing cancer cells. They also found spots in his neck and kidneys.
Oland started the first phase of treatment, induction. This was intense chemo, medications, procedures, surgeries, blood products and endless prayers. At the end of the phase ( 28 days ) his bone marrow was tested again. The family is relieved that Oland is considered to be in remission with less than 1% of his bone marrow containing cancer cells. While they are so thankful to be in remission , Oland’s intense treatment stays the same. It’s expected to last 3 to 3.5 years to prevent the cancer from coming back.
The first sermon our pastor preached after getting Oland’s diagnosis was about Jonathan (king Saul’s son) wanted to warn David to stay away, he loved David and his father wanted him dead. Jonathan took a young boy with him into the field to shoot arrows. ( Jonathan’s way of communicating to warn David to stay away by shooting them aimlessly) With arrows shooting all over, the young boy ran and obeyed Jonathan’s every command, never asked why, just continuously picked up those arrows. The boy returned them to Jonathan, and he rewarded the boy by giving the bow and arrows for his work. The title of that message was Gathering Arrows. Since then, we like to think of each step as gathering an arrow. Just like that boy. Some arrows are really hard, some may even take a while, but none are gathered alone. God has been with us every step and always will be. We are forever grateful to our Oland army.