Dwayne Boggs of Boggs Inspection Services was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2020. Throughout the uncertainty that comes with a cancer diagnosis, the sickness brought on by treatments, and finally a hopeful recovery, one thought continued to recur in his mind. “I thought, ‘this is so difficult for me, being an adult, what would this experience be like for a child facing cancer?’” says Dwayne. That thought inspired him to take action. In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this September, Boggs Inspection Services will be giving a portion of every inspection to help support children and their families as they fight cancer through the Rachel Henley Foundation.
It started as a lump on the side of his neck that he noticed while he was shaving. A four-hour surgery brought the diagnosis of Lymphoma type B. Then came chemotherapy. “I could feel it, having this strange substance going through my body that didn’t really feel like it should be inside me.” The chemo and radiation treatments had a dramatic impact on his body, hardening his veins making each successive treatment more difficult as the nurses struggled to place the IV. “Before this, I always had good veins, I couldn’t imagine this happening to a child’s body. I had three chemo treatments and 14 radiation therapies. Some children go through this for months and months, and sometimes years.”
Dwayne had a strong support system that consisted of his family, close friends, and, of course, the Boggs Inspection Services team. Dwayne’s partner and Operations Director for Boggs Inspection Services, Ana Ramirez, was so thankful for the support of the team. “The team really stepped up. They told me, ‘take care of Dwayne and we will take care of the rest,’” says Ana. But Ana said even with help it was difficult navigating the healthcare system supporting Dwayne’s care.
With additional COVID protocols in place to protect the precarious health of many patients fighting cancer, Ana couldn’t always be at Dwayne’s bedside. Sometimes she had to drop him off and leave him with his care team, returning to pick him up later, conversing over phone calls and telehealth. Often that left Dwayne with lots of time to sit and think. He thought about children that had to go through the pain of cancer treatment, and how scary that must be for them, especially the youngest, too young to even understand why their bodies feel the way they do in the first place.
He also thought a lot about a childhood friend, Pam Czech, whose daughter Cassidy had fought cancer for two years, being diagnosed when she was just 10 years old. Cassidy was a lively kid who enjoyed gymnastics, softball and playing the piano. A diagnosis of Anaplastic Ependymoma changed the family’s lives forever.
“I was very fortunate to have a financial situation and a supportive husband that made it possible for me to be at Cassidy’s bedside the whole time,” Pam shares. Along with a stellar team of medical professionals, Pam also acknowledges many organizations made it possible for her and the rest of their family to stay close to Cassidy throughout the treatments. Despite two years of courageous effort, months of treatments, tests, and surgeries, Cassidy’s battle with cancer ended in 2006.
Childhood cancer is different than adult cancer, says Pam. Their bodies are different and the treatments are designed and tested for adults, she explains. She hopes that more research into childhood cancers will result in more successful treatment for cancer in children. “My daughter passed away from cancer,” she says, “but not every child dies from it, and for those kids, the battle isn’t over even when the cancer is gone. It has a lifetime impact.”
Dwayne’s personal fight with cancer ended with success. “Being in remission, coming out on the other side of this, I felt a tremendous sense of winning, of accomplishment,” says Dwayne. On the heels of a clean bill of health following his recovery, Dwayne knew that while his individual fight might be over, his battle against cancer would continue. This time, he would take his fight to cancer, and he would have even more help. “The team and I want to give back, and we know others out there want to help too. So, we began looking for an organization that was local to us and one that supported families directly as well as supporting research,” says Dwayne. “That is when we found the Rachel Henley Foundation.”
Cancer comes out of nowhere, and it brings fear and uncertainty. Emotional stress, the physical impacts, and medical bills coupled with lost wages from caretaking are just some of the challenges faced by families when their child has cancer. Cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for people under 14. Support from organizations such as the Rachel Henley Foundation makes it possible for families to be with their children and focus on the job of fighting cancer. The foundation provides direct relief to families, as well as funding for research on childhood cancer.
Boggs Inspection Services will be donating five dollars for every inspection performed during September to the Rachel Henley Foundation. The foundation is hosting their annual fundraiser event 2021 FootGolf and Golf: Kicking and Swinging for Smiles! on Saturday, September 11. Dwayne invites you to join him, on behalf of Rachel, on behalf of Cassidy, and countless other children with limitless potential who are fighting for their lives right now, so that no family ever has to fight cancer all on their own.