CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - I can't stop looking at Levi Vetter. Sweetest little sandy-haired superhero in the world.
A month ago I had the honor of meeting 4-year-old Levi at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society "Light the Night" kickoff luncheon in Charlotte. His mom was a guest speaker. She was talking about Levi's year-long battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
She spoke with heart. She said she loved Kure Beach. Said she dreams of raising her kids there.
We were destined to be friends.
"I've always said my son lights up any room he enters," Julie Vetter said. "He radiates happiness, love and positive energy. He has more energy than a Labrador retriever chasing a tennis ball. He needs all that upbeat kharma to fight ALL."
The treatment plan for ALL is a little over three years for boys and a little over two years for girls. There are three phases. The first phase for Levi focuses on getting him into remission. Second phase will rid his body of any remaining leukemia cells. Third is a follow-up to ensure the leukemia cells don't come back.
That means Levi will be in treatment -- receiving chemo -- until the end of 2018.
"Without the support of local organizations and the good people in Charlotte – shout-out to Charlotte Fire Department, Charlotte NC Ladder 1! – I don't know how we'd have made it to today," Julie said. "Our focus is on getting Levi completely healthy again."
When Julie, a fulltime working mom, was in the thick of it all she decided to give back to help those who have helped her family.
SIDENOTE: I don't know many moms who WHILE their child is fighting cancer and they're working and raising a family, then decide to start volunteering... but that's Julie.
She picked up the phone and called LLS. She now volunteers in their office doing whatever they have her do.
Also, a close friend and "ultra-runner," Pete Ripmaster, is running from Asheville to Charlotte in demonstration of his support to Levi. His run starts later this month on September 23rd. CLICK HERE for more info.
ALL has a 90% survival rate in young children. So far, Levi's prognosis looks good.
"90% sounds great," Julie said, "but as a mom I can't stop thinking about the remaining 10%. What about those parents? One of Levi's oncologists said, 'We don't lack ideas, we lack funding'. That idea has stuck with me."
She hopes it'll stick with everyone.
Get involved. Donate. Give. Contact LLS. Or, sign up for a pediatric cancer event. (I mentioned in yesterday's post >> http://tinyurl.com/11Sept2016). Do something. Share the thought...
...Share superhero Levi.
Julie wants everyone to know his story.
**Editor's note: This is a about a member of #MollysKids, one of the kids 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. Find this story and updates on all of #MollysKids here.**