Anderson, Cottonwood rally to support 2 teens fighting cancer

George L. Winship, Editor
Cancer victim Michael Stevens of Anderson recently turned 17.

Photo courtesy of the Stevens Family

Cancer victim Michael Stevens of Anderson recently turned 17.

Taylor Andrews, 15, takes chemotherapy.

Photo courtesy of the Andrews Family

Taylor Andrews, 15, takes chemotherapy.

Michael Stevens, 17, of Anderson and Taylor Andrews, 15, of Cottonwood are each fighting rare and aggressive forms of cancer.

Meanwhile, members of both South County communities are rallying financial and emotional support for the two teens.

Michael Stevens was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, paratesticular rhadomyosaromcoma (RMS), that occurs in the soft tissues of children and adolescents, family members said last week.

The Anderson VFW Post, No. 9650, is hosting a benefit “donations only” spaghetti dinner for Michael’s medical expenses from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, July 27. Plenty of donated items are going to be offered for a silent auction or as door prizes, said his aunt, Crystal Crosby of Anderson.

An account was established in Michael Stevens’ name at U.S. Bank in Anderson. Donations for the young man’s medical expenses can be made in his name at any U.S. Bank branch, Mrs. Crosby said.

Michael also has online medical fundraising page on the GiveForward Web site where donors can provide financial support to the family, she noted.

Meanwhile, Taylor Andrews was recently found to have Stage 4 soft tissue cancer in his right hip, both lungs and his lower lumbar region, although his oncologist is still trying to determine the type of cancer, according to Facebook postings from his mother, Dana Andrews.

Fortunately, a bone scan turned up negative so the cancer has not yet spread there, Mrs. Andrews said.

Taylor is taking chemotherapy treatments at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento, she added.

Team Taylor T-shirts created by Logo USA quickly sold out Wednesday, July 17, at the Elegant Bean in Cottonwood.

More T-shirts are on order, said Karli Janc, owner of the popular coffee shop located in the Holiday Market shopping center on Gas Point Road.

An account for donations to the Taylor Andrews Fund was set up at Tri-Counties Bank in Cottonwood.

Regular postings of Taylor’s condition can be found on Facebook or at the Caring Bridge Web site www.caringbridge.org/TaylorAndrews.

A benefit dinner is set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 9 in North Cottonwood School’s cafeteria.

Dinner tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children and the menu includes spaghetti, salad, bread and dessert.

About a month ago, shortly before Michael Stevens turned 17, the young man noticed an odd lump and expressed concern to his mother, Johnni Harvin, said another aunt, Amy Stevens of Vacaville.

“He looked like a ghost. He was scared,” Amy Stevens said of her younger nephew.

The oncology or cancer team at Mercy Medical Center ordered some preliminary tests, but the cancer physician didn’t like the looks of those test results.

Michael’s first surgery – an inguinal orchiectomy – to remove a testicle was done May 29 at the Redding hospital.

However, Michael was back in the surgical ward by July 3 following a biopsy of tissues removed during the first surgery led his doctor to order a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, often referred to as RPLND.

The second surgery, a more invasive procedure, required a six-inch incision in Michael’s sternum.

That allowed for the removal of most of Michael’s abdominal lymph nodes, family members said.

Testicular cancer typically spreads to the lymph nodes if not caught in its earliest stages, according to WikiPedia, an online encyclopedia.

As both young men convalesce and start chemotherapy, they are getting better acquainted online through text messages and Facebook posts, reports Taylor’s mother, Dana Andrews, and Michael’s aunt, Crystal Crosby.

“Michael has been sending text messages to Taylor from his hospital bed as he gets stronger,” Mrs. Crosby said.

“Our family is praying for Taylor Andrews and his family. We want to offer them our support. If there is anything we can do, we want to help them through this,” she added.

Those sentiments were echoed Thursday by Taylor’s mother.

“I wanted to ask for prayers for another young man, Michael Stevens. He also has cancer of the tissue and his family is currently at the University of California at Davis Medical Center in Sacramento,” Mrs. Andrews posted in return on Facebook.

“Please keep both of these young, amazing boys in your daily prayers,” she added.

© 2013 Anderson Valley Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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