Dexter game ball given to student with leukemia - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Dexter game ball given to student with leukemia

(Source: KFVS 12) (Source: KFVS 12)
DEXTER, MO (KFVS) -

The night before that first day of kindergarten is one that should be full of excitement and butterflies. But for a Dexter family, it was filled with terror and uncertainty. 

Their five year old, who should have been readying for the first day of school, was instead readying for the fight of his young life.

Flash back to week six of Missouri High School Football. The Dexter Bearcats held a late lead as they tried to upset, the then undefeated, Kennett.

At the same time the two rival teams were battling it out on field, five-year-old Gavin Thompson was fighting a battle all his own.

"I have to have blood taken out," Gavin said.

Gavin has leukemia.

"Gavin got diagnosed August 12 and we started chemo on the 14th, which was supposed to be [his] first day of kindergarten," Gavin’s mom Nicole Thompson said.

Thompson says it all started earlier this year when Gavin would complain about constant pain in his arms and legs.

The diagnosis came as shock as it would to any parent.

"Disbelief fear anxiety all the natural things that a parent would be concerned with for their child," Thompson said.

Now, every Friday Gavin drives with his mom to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis for chemo treatment.

"He might have one day of chemo or he might be required to stay for four days it just depends on type."

Back on the field, the Bearcats held on to win by just 3 points against their rivals in the most exciting victory all year.

The game ball didn't go to the quarterback or kicker, no, Dexter head coach Justin Peden knew exactly who deserved it.

"Well Gavin's in my son’s kindergarten class and we had seen some stuff on Facebook and the internet about him and I knew he's a Bearcat."

Every player and coach signed the ball and quarterback Ethan Stevens delivered the surprise to Gavin's kindergarten classroom on Wednesday, Oct. 7.

"I just like seeing people happy and especially a kid like that seeing what he's going through," Stevens said.

"He's got a real fight ahead of him and anything we can do to put a smile on his face it’s good for us and the community," Peden said.

Gavin now keeps the ball by his side for every treatment.

"Not to play with to look at," Gavin said.

And it serves as a reminder to Gavin and his family everyone in the community is fighting by his side.

"It's truly amazing," Thompson said.

Gavin is in his second month of treatment and his family says he could have a ways to go but they have seen significant improvement already.

Gavin is the oldest of four. He lives with his mom; dad, Grant Thompson; 3-year-old brother, Lincoln; and twin newborn brother and sister, Isaac and Evelyn, in Dexter.

A Go Fund Me page has been created in Gavin’s name.

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