CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — If you didn’t know, 2-year-old Ezra Hocking looks like a perfectly healthy little boy, but a small limp and weak right arm give the slightest clues to the cancerous fight raging inside his toddler body.
“It suddenly stopped working – his right arm – as if he had a stroke,” said Ezra’s mother, Tasha Hocking.
It was Easter Sunday; a day the Hockings celebrate the Lord’s resurrection.
Little did they know, it was also the day that began a journey that would lead to their own miracle.
“We found out that he has an astrocytoma tumor and that it was actually infused in his spinal cord. Usually they’re in the brain,” said Tasha.
The tumor reached across six of Ezra’s vertebrae, as the Hockings fears reached their own lengths. Would Ezra be paralyzed, a quadriplegic? Would he live?
“The first thing that went through my mind is it can’t be real,” said Tasha. “If I lose him, I do not know how I will go on. I do not, because my purpose has become him.”
Three days after the diagnosis, Ezra underwent neurosurgery, his spine cut open to retrieve tissue. Not uncommon, the surgery left him mostly paralyzed.
“All of it is horrifying because you know, I never, he was so perfect,” said Tasha.
It took three weeks of inpatient rehab at Riley Hospital for Children before Ezra could sit up on his own.
It was now time for the real test; chemo. After two months, the tumor started to stabilize. After three months, results. Ezra’s tumor shrunk by half.
“The doctors have been amazed. They’ve called each other and everybody says better than expected in every way,” said Tasha.
The happy 2-year old is now halfway through his treatment, and doctors say even if his tumor doesn’t shrink any more he would be able to live out his life without trouble.
We heard Ezra’s story from the Little Wish Foundation, a local non-profit started by recent Butler grad, Liz Niemiec, who has granted wishes to 1,100 kids with cancer.
We were thrilled to link arms and give the Hockings another reason to celebrate, and the opportunity to make memories that don’t involve a hospital room.
Ezra’s family originally reached out to the Little Wish Foundation for a new swing set to help aid Ezra’s recovery.
Family Leisure donated and installed a large, beautiful new swing set to the family.
“When we heard about Ezra and his wish, we couldn’t help but be a part of it. We’re a family business, we’ve been doing it for 40 years and when something like this comes along, we had to be a part of it,” said Bob Williams from Family Leisure.
The Indiana Pacers presented the family with tickets to an upcoming Pacers game, complete with a meet and greet with the team and dinner at the Varsity Club. The Indianapolis Zoo donated admission tickets, ride and food vouchers, a parking pass and a gift bag. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis donated admission tickets, parking voucher, and a gift bag. Live Nation donated tickets to an upcoming performance of Paw Patrol Live at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre. The family will also get to enjoy a shopping spree to Mass Ave Toys.
With every step climbed, every rush of the slide, every swing swung, Ezra may not know it, but his little body is fighting that cancer; building its muscle, recovering his stamina.
But the most important weapon in his fight is that smile. It tells his mom and dad he’ll be okay. It tells the story of a fight with cancer that he’s winning.
“I can’t imagine things going better and his smile? I mean, it just says it all and he just can’t stop smiling. He’s just happy, truly, truly happy,” said Tasha.
This WISH Patrol surprise would not have been possible without our generous supporters:
- Family Leisure
- Indiana Pacers
- Indianapolis Zoo
- The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
- Live Nation
- Mass Ave Toys
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