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.
Camryn is 2 years old from Bigelow, Arkansas. She has a 5 year old sister named Colyn, who is her very best friend! They live with their parents, Cody and Catherine Gunther.
When Camryn was 16 months old she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called an IL10 receptor deficiency. It is a very rare disease that causes inflammation in the body, but mostly the gastrointestinal tract, causing early onset inflammatory bowel disease. She’s on a daily injection that helps keep her inflammation within normal range, currently. Cam has undergone two surgeries from gastrointestinal issues with her early onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Cam is only the 3rd child in the United States to have this disease. There are under 100 cases of this disease worldwide and, without a successful bone marrow transplant, it could be life threating. Having this rare of a disease is difficult, not only to handle in every day life, but also with doctors because there is not much literature on this disease. Cam’s doctors at Arkansas Children’s Hospital did everything they could do for the family, and eventually referred them to St. Louis Children’s Hospital where we are currently receiving treatment. Her doctors at St. Louis Children’s Hospital did multiple testing and labs and were able to get Cam on the list for a bone marrow match through Be the Match. She currently has a bone marrow match and is set to start our transplant in 3 months.
The family believes with the help of God and modern medicine that they will have a cure for their daughter. You can follow Cam’s story on the “Currently with Cam” Facebook page.
We are excited to announce Camryn Gunther and Oland Noakes as our 2022 Superheroes! These brave superheroes both have huge personalities and kind hearts. We can’t wait to rally the community to surround them with support and prayers.
We are excited to announce Juniper Peeler as our superhero for the 2021 River Valley Superhero 5K! Juniper, 3 year old daughter of Crystal and Stony Peeler, was diagnosed with a Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma in February of 2020. She has since undergone chemotherapy and a variety of treatments, procedures, and hospital stays.
Juniper and her family live in Hattieville, AR and have many family and local ties to Russellville and the River Valley. Juniper has two siblings: Stony (5) and Cadee (1).
Many in our community have watched Juniper’s battle with cancer by following her facebook page, Juniper’s Journey. It is clear that though her journey will continue to be difficult, she is a spit fire with a big personality and a beautiful smile!
Though the race will likely be virtual this year (and we will keep everyone updated on that front), we can’t wait to see the love and support the River Valley community is famous for.
The 2020 River Valley Superhero is Lander Duvall, 6 year old son of Kaitlin Vantine and Logan Duvall. Kaitlin and Logan, originally both from Atkins, now reside in Pottsville and North Little Rock. Lander has 4 siblings: Kentlee Vantine (5 yo), Kamry Duvall (4 yo), Kennyn Vantine (4 mo), and Rowan Duvall (3 mo).
Over the summer of 2019, Lander was diagnosed with Stage 4 Nephroblastoma (Wilms tumor) that spread to his lymph nodes and lung. Lander had surgery to remove his kidney and surrounding lymph nodes. He has since been undergoing chemotherapy with positive results.
Lander has a long road ahead of him, but he is a fighter and we can’t wait to see our awesome community rally around him.
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This year we are super excited to be adding a Stoby’s Pancake Breakfast to our list of events. We will be donating 75% of proceeds to the family of Greyson Gilliam and retaining the other 25% of proceeds to help families throughout the year.