Skateboards & Dirt Bikes
Young Dezi was more than a little anxious. You would be, too, if you were having your colon removed the Friday before Thanksgiving…at the age of 12!
Questions were swirling…
“What’s life going to be like afterwards?”
“How long until I can skateboard and ride my dirt bike again?”
(Side note: Ask Dezi about the dirt bike he’s building in his bedroom!)
“Will I be able to play basketball and baseball this year?”
“Will I still be able to eat my favorite foods?”
All legitimately serious questions by their own right, especially by a true dirt bike rider and skateboarder, but questions all the more imposing given his family’s history of young deaths caused by FAP.
With the thought of surgery bumming him out, Dezi’s mom, Stacie, took to action to cheer her son up.
Step 1: Inspiration
First things first: Dezi needed to know that a normal life, albeit a new normal, awaited him after after surgery. Doing so started with Stacie educating him on the ‘ins and outs’ of FAP so that he understood why he needed surgery. They also watched the video “Everyday” on HCCTakesGuts.org so that Dezi could see another previvor who hasn’t been slowed down by a colectomy. Dezi perked up watching the action shots of Travis snowboarding. Knowing that kick flips and allies (skateboard terms…look ‘em up!) was not too far in the distant future, Dezi’s fear was replaced with determination.
Step 2: Community Support
Dezi’s surgery required the family to travel from Minneapolis KS to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO and Stacie would need to take time off of work. So she started the “Dezi Fund.” (Children’s Mercy Hospital hosts one of the nations few pediatric gastroenterologists specializing in FAP. Find Seth Septer, MD and many more specialists here.)
However, Dezi had other goals in mind… He proposed that half the money would help pay the family’s costs and the other half would be sent to support the Hereditary Colon Cancer Foundation. Mom was supportive,“We can all agree that education is key and I feel that the focus and information through the Foundation is the best out there for those going through life with FAP, juvenile polyposis, or many other hereditary colon diseases.”
At a local bake sale, red velvet cake, trail mix, R2D2 cookies, coconut and chocolate cream pies, and banana bread, were donated by many family and friends including Dezi's best friend, Hunter. Chili was also donated. While a chili cheese dog and a brownie would be enough to put a smile on most any kid’s face, Dezi received an added surprise. At the event he learned that one of his classmates also has FAP! Both kids had been dealing with it privately and out of the view of classmates, but now they’ll have each other.
Dezi also decided to sell bracelets “to support his journey with his hereditary disease.” The bracelets were royal blue, the color associated with colon cancer with the Foundation’s slogan "it takes guts" in lime green, Dezi's favorite color. (Looking at a bracelet, one would predict that Dezi is a Seattle Seahawks fan, but don’t be fooled! Dezi bleeds red and black for the Atlanta Falcons!)
For anyone who would like a bracelet, click here to donate $5 and send your address in a message to Stacie.
Step 3: An Encouraging Chat
Travis was touched to tears by Dezi’s actions, “This is why I love my job!” And Dezi was inspired to talk to a person with his diasease and no colon and who rocks a snowboard. So the two had a video chat a few days before Dezi’s surgery discussing everything from what to expect after surgery to slaying dragons!
Step 4: An Early Thanksgiving
Since Dezi would still be recovering on Thanksgiving, his family celebrated a week early so he wouldn’t miss out on all the fun.
Step 5: A Class Full of Support
His entire 6th grade, teachers and students donned the Foundation’s “DNA Dude” tattoos on surgery day to honor what he was going through!
Step 6: A “Last Dinner”
When offered dinner at his place of choice in Kansas City, an internet search turned up Twin Peaks Sports Bar & Grill. Look them up online and you’ll see why a 12 year old boy would want his “Last Supper” here. Suffice it to say, this dining experience took his mind off of the surgery the next morning!
Step 7: The Man of Steel
Dezi entered the hospital sporting none other than Superman socks! It makes sense actually… what a brilliant way to take the strength of the man from Krypton into surgery!
Many things went into making Dezi’s surgery a success. The support of family and friends. The support of teachers and classmates. The support locally from the Minneapolis and Tescott, KS communities and online through Facebook. And the support of Dezi and Stacie’s new friends at the Hereditary Colon Cancer Foundation who can’t wait to see pictures of this inspiring, young man back on his skateboard and dirt bike!