FARMINGTON, MO (KFVS) - It's something that hit home for all of Farmington, two young athletic boys struck by cancer.
Students, teachers and parents want sixth grader Ty Harris and his family to know they are praying for him as he battles complications from leukemia.
Meanwhile it's a struggle familiar to the mother of Walker Johns, who lost his fight a little more than a year ago. Walker would have been a freshman this year.
Kelly Johns says Walker was known as a gentle giant.
"He had a lot of friends and didn't know a stranger," said Johns.
During football camp in 2010 Kelly noticed something was wrong.
"He came to me and said mom my stomach hurts I can't do this," Johns remembers.
Doctors diagnosed Walker with leukemia, and as he took on the disease he brought an army with him.
Dad, Ken Johns, coached the high school football team and Walker served as the water boy.
"It affected the football team in a way you can't describe," said Lisa Bradley. Bradley's son was a football player who supported Walker's fight. "They were very close. It was a family."
Walker's number-and a sense of family-became the theme of the Farmington football season in 2011: Walker's number, 51 was placed on the homecoming float, every cleat, and every helmet. The team went all the way to the final four in 2011.
"Everyone was in on it," said Bradley. Everyone. We sold bracelets and stickers. Everyone wore 51."
In November that year Walker passed away. And in the midst of it all, another young Knight's battle would soon grow intense.
Ty Harris began his war with leukemia years earlier.
Kelly knows what Ty's mother Corrie Stevens is going through.
"I absolutely do not want anyone else to endure that," said Kelly.
Now instead of letting families fall apart, again Farmington comes together. Students paid a dollar to wear "Ties for Ty" in a campaign to raise money for his family. It's one of many shows of support.
"I think it shows a lot about the character of our district," said teacher, Ron Farrow.
Farrow says to stay strong all students have learned to stick together.
"It's a shame they have to deal with these grown up things, but it's not just a grown up disease," said Farrow. "It's amazing the maturity they show," Farrow said.
Both Bradley and John's want Ty to know he's got all of Farmington behind him in his fight.
"That was our goal to let Ty and his family know we were still thinking of him," said Bradley.
The community has pulled together with countless fundraisers for both boys.
There's a run for Ty this Saturday, and a blood drive in February. There's also an annual run for Walker coming up in April.
Money from that event will actually be split between five families in the Farmington area with children fighting cancer, something that was Walker's idea.
Parents ask you keep Ty Harris and his family in your thoughts and prayers.
Run for Tyler 'Ty' Harris
Saturday, January 26
A one-mile and 5K run will be held on Saturday, January 26 at the Farmington Civic Center. It's being held to help with medical expenses for 12 year old Tyler Harris, who is battling leukemia for a second time.
Blood Drive in honor of Tyler Harris
February 4, from 2- 8 p.m. at the Farmington Civic Center
3rd Annual Run/Walk/Ride with Walker
Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 8-9 a.m.
Farmington High School
1 Black Knight Drive
Farmington, MO 63640
It's a family fun run, 5K and 10K run for time and 15-mile bike route timed. T-shirts, medals, and silent auction will be held. Food will also be available.