Owen Himes is wrapping up a long 2022 as he continues his battle with a rare cancer

Owen was diagnosed on the very first day of 2022.
Owen Himes
Owen Himes(Family photo)
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 9:54 PM EST
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LINCOLNTON, N.C. (WBTV) - Hello to Owen Himes, a 2-year-old from Lincolnton, who was diagnosed with a Stage IV cancer on the very first day of 2022.

Nearly 12 months later, after what can only be described as a “wild year,” we are happy to welcome him as the newest one of our amazing Molly’s Kids.

Owen was diagnosed with ATRT (Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor). It’s the same exact rare cancer that another one of our Molly’s Kids, Hunter Ballard, is fighting in Gaston County.

Owen was diagnosed in unique fashion. He is a twin. His mom, Amber Himes, noticed Owen had a head tilt that his twin, Wyatt, didn’t. Owen also didn’t eat as much as Wyatt. Owen also threw up a lot more than Wyatt.

Amber had taken Owen to their pediatrician multiple times, but they hadn’t found any real answers to explain the differences between the boys.

“Finally,” Amber said, “on the first day of 2022, I took him to the ER in Lincolnton.”

She said she’ll never forget what the doctor there said.

“He looked at me and said, ‘It sounds like the pediatrician is working the way up the charts to see what’s going on. So, I’m thinking we should start at the top with an MRI and work our way down. Rather than start small, let’s start big. How does that sound?’ I thought it sounded fine. I just wanted to answers about my baby,” Amber said.

That MRI found the cancer.

“That doctor came back in and told me Owen had a brain tumor,” Amber said. “I looked at him and said, ‘I think I need to call my husband.’ That entire moment changed our lives. Everything after that is a blur.”

Amber said she and her husband, James, and all of Owen’s brothers—besides twin Wyatt, there is Jameson, 8, and Wesley, 6—have had a difficult road since.

“We’ve done chemo at Levine Children’s Hospital and proton radiation in Jacksonville, Florida for six weeks,” Amber said. “After all that we got a little good news and doctors moved us to maintenance chemo. We were good until last week. Doctors found another tumor on Owen’s spine.”

“We reached out to Duke Children’s for an immune treatment, but they didn’t have any openings,” she continued. “Now we’re trying to find somewhere else to go. Maybe Boston? Maybe St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis? We’re not sure. It’s currently up in the air.”

This Sunday there is a Jeep/Car Run fundraiser starting at Bandys High School, at 11 a.m. with a special guest appearance from Santa.

All money raised will benefit Owen’s family. A flyer is below, and everyone is invited.

“2022 threw a curve ball, that’s for sure,” she said. “But we’re trying to stay strong, and just enjoy Christmas.”

Hearing about a family living in uncertainty on how to save their child’s life, makes you want to hug your own kids a little tighter.

Welcome to Molly’s Kids, Owen. Lots of love to you, your parents, and your brothers.

- Molly

Flyer for Sunday's Owen Himes event
Flyer for Sunday's Owen Himes event(Family photo)