Celebrating strength

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:19 PM

“Every penny we get is going to go toward finding a match for Trevor,” said Marci Lynch, a member of Bucs Pride and one of the organizers for the Miles of Pennies Walk.

About 60 participants dressed in purple and walked a mile along Beacon Boulevard Sunday afternoon to raise awareness and funds to help the little boy. They were led by Coast Guard flag bearers Eric French and Amanda Miller.

Howard smiled and waved from an all-terrain vehicle, which led the parade and transported his family from the start of the walk near Beacon and Jackson, to the conclusion just south of Taylor Street.

Tiffany Strait hugged her son, Justin, for a picture as they waited for the walk to begin.

"He raised money though the school," she said. "I've been involved with Bucs Pride for a few years through Relay for Life.

Lakeshore Middle School Assistant Principal Amanda Sorrelle participated in the walk with her three children, Harrison, 9, and twins Maggie and Gillian, 6.

"I'm doing this to represent Lakeshore," she said. "I also have a lot of family members affected by cancer."

Kristen Barnes and her children Austin, 10, and Kendall, 7, walked in memory of their husband and father, Matt Barnes.

"It's a positive thing to remember their dad," Kristen said. "It's amazing to see how the community supports the event."

The Bucs Pride organization helps raise money for the Bucs Wellness fund, which is used to help local families battling cancer.

“Last spring when we did Be the Match for bone marrow, we didn’t have anyone local to help,” said Sharon Yonker, event co-organizer. “Now we have Trevor.”

Yonkers said the money from the Miles of Pennies Walk would be used to fund a Be The Match registry program for the community.

Lakeshore Middle School teacher Lyndsey Yonker said the school children previously did not know for whom they were raising money.

“Now we’ll be able to go back and tell them what we are going to do with the money we raised,” she said.

The son of Chris Howard and Stacy Emmert, Trevor was diagnosed with leukemia in June, his mother said.

He had been sick on and off for more than a year.

“The bruising, the paleness and his energy level was down,” Emmert said of the symptoms. “He’d get better and he’d get worse.”

One day he had a fever and his family took him to the hospital.

Emmert said a blood test showed a very elevated level of leukemia.

Medical personnel sent Trevor by ambulance to DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids right away.

“If he would have gone a few more days, it would have taken over and started shutting down his organs,” Emmert said.

Trevor has had his bone marrow wiped out once and he will go back in around Thanksgiving to have It done again, his mother said.

In between he has chemotherapy treatments.

“He’s doing good right now,” she said as he ran around with his younger brothers at the close of the event.

Lynch said donations for the event should be made at Pfaff’s Pharmacy and at the Grand Haven High School store.

The Bucs Pride Purple Football game honoring cancer survivors and victims will be held Oct. 25 at Buccaneer Stadium.

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