CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - "I've been following #MollysKids for a while, but never imagined I'd someday be emailing you about my own son."
That's how Allison Cowherd's note began. Her son is Parker.
"I love reading the stories about your daughter Parker because she seems so similar to my boy Parker," Allison wrote. "My Parker is the light of my life."
Parker Cowherd, 7, lives in Cornelius. At 18-months-old he was diagnosed with what was thought to be mild spastic cerebral palsy, affecting his left hand. He grew up having difficulty completing tasks, but never let it stop him.
That changed last fall when Parker's parents started noticing changes in his right hand. They were perplexed.
An MRI showed a tumor on Parker's spine. He immediately underwent intense surgery. The oncologist and pathologist diagnosed Parker with DOGLT (Disseminated Oligodendroglioma), an extremely rare glioneuronal brain tumor.
"We eventually realized it wasn't that Parker had cerebral palsy," Allison said. "It had been a tumor compressing his nerves causing the spasticity in his hand muscles. The new diagnosis, especially a cancer diagnosis, threw us for a loop."
Parker's cancer spread down his spine and into his lower brain.
He started chemo this past December. He's currently in his second cycle.
"His cancer will most likely be a managed condition throughout his lifetime," Allison said. "It's a very serious situation, but we have hope Parker will overcome. There are amazing medical advances occurring every day. Who knows what we could see in coming years."
Parker's mom says her son has an infectious smile, is funny, silly, smart, strong and brave. He can strike up a conversation with anyone, likes lacrosse, golf and ADORES the Carolina Panthers.
He loves all the players, not just one.
"He likes people in general," Allison says. "He's a really happy kid."
Parker just started the second grade at J.V. Washam Elementary. His best friend is his younger brother, 4-year-old Owen. He also keeps up with messages people send him encouraging him through this battle on his Facebook page, Keep Pounding for Parker.
Fitting Facebook name for a young Panthers fan who fights.
Allison said she hasn't connected locally with any other children with the same type of cancer, but loved reading about "The Invincible Iron Man Sam" in July because it seemed like he and Parker had something in common with their tumors.
As you know this month is "30 Kids. 30 Stories. 30 Days." Get on board. Realize these kids – all these #MollysKids – are in our area. All are real life. Volunteer your time. Get out to a fundraiser. Donate.
At the very, least share these stories. Take a minute \to read Parker's story – and the past three this month so far – to your own healthy kids. Explain to them why they're lucky.
Everyday 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer. Many in our own backyard.
"I love reading the posts about remarkable kids," Allison wrote. "I just never, ever, ever thought it'd be our family you were featuring."
**Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids in the month of September, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. This article was first published there – maybe you'll be able to tell that in the personal way it's written. For years Molly has followed the stories of dozens of kids with uphill medical battles. During Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, she features one a day. Thirty total. Find this story (and updates on all of #MollysKids) here.