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Fight Like Hunter

Fight Like Hunter

by Steve Gamel

Hunter Oney has a long treatment plan ahead as he continues to battle a rare form of cancer, but his sheer determination to once again play the sport he loves, plus having support from the community he lives in, has everyone – including Hunter – in high spirits.

The 16-year-old Argyle student and avid baseball player captured the heart of this tight-knit community in March when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a fast-acting cancer that affects young people and can spread easily to different parts of the body.

Over the last nine months, the community has banded together to raise money in support for his treatment.

“The Argyle community has been absolutely amazing,” said Alison Oney, who added that her son’s cancer is currently in remission. “We are completely humbled by what everyone has done for us.”

She added: “When the doctors told us they found a tumor, it was quite a punch in the gut.”

Hunter’s diagnosis came just two weeks before his 16th birthday. Before that, he was just like any other vibrant teenager who loved video games and playing junior varsity baseball at Argyle. But when Hunter began complaining of a swollen left arm, a trip the emergency room gave him more than he bargained for.

Tests revealed Hunter had a blood clot between his neck and his shoulder. Doctors were concerned why an otherwise healthy kid would have a blood clot so severe.

By the next morning, they found a large tumor in front of Hunter’s heart.

Since then, Hunter has struggled through multiple rounds of chemotherapy and has been in and out of the hospital fighting other sicknesses. During August alone, Oney said her son’s weight plummeted from 150 pounds to 123. He had previously ballooned to almost 210 pounds while on steroid treatments.

“To make matters more complicated, Hunter is a Type-1 diabetic,” Alison said. “Not one time have I heard him complain. He doesn’t cry, unless he’s in pain from the treatment, or feel sorry for himself.”

That fight resonated with friends, family and complete strangers in Argyle. A GoFundMe account was quickly created as a central account for residents to offer monetary donations to help offset the rising medical costs and other expenses from Hunter’s various treatments and trips to the hospital. Then there was a recent initiative at the high school where students could pay money to take part in
No Shave November.

Those two avenues combined helped raise $7,675 by Thanksgiving. And that number was sure to climb.

“Almost all of that money has been used already for his medical bills,” Oney said.

Despite a rough battle, Hunter’s spirit hasn’t softened and he’s progressing well. Oney said the next step started this month as he transitioned to monthly chemo treatments that he will continue for at least the next two years. In the meantime, Hunter will take oral chemo medication daily and start what his mother called an extensive physical therapy program three to four times per week to regain his weight and strength.

“He does not want to miss another baseball season. Baseball is his life,” she said. “The plan is to be able to go back to school in January, and the doctors say he can be ready.”

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