GOLDEN CHILDREN: Hisey family soldiers on

Tanner Hisey's had a summer he'll long remember. He shot an Osceola turkey on a Florida hunting trip, and he cascaded over the Jurassic Park waterfall at Universal Studios in Orlando. This past week, he relaxed on a Michigan fishing trip with his dad, Dave, and little sister, Siera.
Sarah Weber
Aug 8, 2010

Tanner Hisey's had a summer he'll long remember.

He shot an Osceola turkey on a Florida hunting trip, and he cascaded over the Jurassic Park waterfall at Universal Studios in Orlando.

This past week, he relaxed on a Michigan fishing trip with his dad, Dave, and little sister, Siera.

But if you think the jet-setting lifestyle has gone to the 12-year-old's head, just ask him what he wants when he's finally done with chemotherapy treatments.

"All I want is a dippy egg," said Tanner, who has leukemia.

His mom, Donna, said Tanner can't have runny eggs because his immune system can't cope with the bacteria. He can have scrambled eggs if they're cooked through, but he stills longs for sunny-side up.

Not until December 2011 can Tanner take a satisfying bite of toast dripping with egg yolk.

But that doesn't get Tanner down. Not much does.

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The easy-going Green Springs boy takes the good moments, and the bad, in stride.

He plays baseball, rides his four-wheeler, and hangs out with friends.

Then he goes for a spinal tap every three months and takes his chemo pill every day.

"Even when we forget, he remembers," Donna said of the daily regimen.

Life's as normal as normal gets for a child fighting a deadly disease.

 

A normal life

Deja vu struck Donna as she and her family filed into the hotel for Tanner's trip to Disney World in mid-July, a trip sponsored by Make-A-Wish Foundation.

In 2006 the family made the same trip with Tanner's sister, Tyler, 17, who was diagnosed with a different type of leukemia that year.

The hotel is constantly booked, and some families have to stay at a different place at the park because of overflow, Donna said.

More than 90,000 children have been granted their wish at Disney World through Make-A-Wish Foundation.

That's 90,000 children battling a life-threatening illness.

For some, the trip will be their last wish.

Tanner and Tyler are among 28 children from eastern Sandusky County who've been diagnosed with cancer. While researchers have identified the area as a childhood cancer cluster, the cause is elusive.

The Hisey family will mark the two-year anniversary of Tanner's diagnosis later this month, as well as the four year benchmark for Tyler's remission.

Tyler said she plans to attend Vanguard Career Center in Fremont this year for early childhood education. She's excited about starting classes.

"Kids are just drawn to her," Donna said.

Tyler's been spending early mornings practicing for the upcoming golf season with the Clyde High School golf team.

Tanner played baseball this summer, and he may go out for other sports at the new McPherson Middle School -- if he's feeling up to it.

He's adjusted to his treatment routine, but his medications sometimes leave him exhausted.

After taking just one of the drugs in his regimen, he'll lay in bed in agony, his muscles burning.

 

The healing pool

The family stumbled on a remedy for Tanner's joint pain when he got a chance to swim this summer. Public pools and natural bodies of water are off-limits for the boy because of his diminished immune system.

He also has a port -- a tube doctors inserted in his chest so they can feed him medication. It's there until his treatment is finished.

"The doctor told us because of his port he could get an infection," Dave said. "That would be really, really bad."

Yet swimming at a well-chlorinated private pool this summer seemed to alleviate Tanner's muscle pain in the week after his treatment.

Dave visited Swim Rite Pools in Fremont to price a pool for the family.

After hearing the pool was for a sick child, Eric Elder, the service manager, decided to call several suppliers to see if they could help the family out.

Pacific Pools donated a pool while other suppliers donated an automatic cleaning system and pool cover to keep the water safe for Tanner.

"Pretty much the main components have been donated," Elder said. "There is some leftovers -- plumbing and odds and ends that can add up, and some stone around the pool."

Elder is still accepting donations for the project, but it's scheduled for installation by month's end.

"It's definitely a good cause," Elder said.

 

 

Want to help Swim Rite Pools in Fremont install a pool for Tanner Hisey? Donations can be made to:

Tanner's Pool

C/O Swim Rite Pools

2218 W State Street

Fremont, OH 43420