Cass Middle 7th-grader raises money for childhood cancer research
by Marie Nesmith
Mar 08, 2013 | 1061 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To help children who are battling cancer, Dalton Umphrey will have his head shaved Sunday for the third consecutive year. Area residents can support the Cass Middle School seventh-grader’s efforts by placing a donation throughout the year at www.stbaldricks.org/participants/TeamDalton, which will help St. Baldrick’s Foundation fund childhood cancer research grants.

Last year, 56,268 people participated in the foundation’s head-shaving events, raising a total of $33,534,800.

“When I heard that I had cancer, I was shocked,” said Umphrey, whose event will be held at The Harp Irish Pub, 1425 Market Blvd., Roswell, at 1 p.m. “I was not sad or scared, just shocked. Once I noticed that I was in good hands, I was relieved. I saw all of the other patients every time I left my hospital room and when I was told about St. Baldrick’s, I wanted to raise lots of money and shave my head to help kids like me win their battle with cancer.”

Umphrey was diagnosed with Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma in 2010 when he was 11. In remission for two years as of March 4, the chance of his cancer returning is less than 5 percent.

“Dalton was sick for two years with swollen lymph nodes on the left side of his back,” said his mother, Rebecca Rowe. “We did every test known to man and couldn’t come up with anything wrong. ... [Then] on Dec. 17 of 2010 we went and saw an ear, nose and throat specialist at Egleston and she did a biopsy and found cancer.

“It took about a week to diagnose his type of cancer and the stage that he was in. But they found it to be Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, which is a form of non-Hodgkin’s, and that he was in stage one. From there he had [chemotherapy treatments] over the next couple of months and by March 4 was in remission. So we were insanely lucky.”

Like her son, Rowe also sees the importance of supporting childhood cancer research.

“Through having had cancer, he goes to a camp every summer called Camp Sunshine, which is a camp for kids with cancer,” she said. “And while he’s there he makes lifelong friendships. Some of these kids, he talks to them every single day on his Xbox and on the phone. [These are] kids he never sees in person except that one time of year.

“Some of those kids are still on treatment. Some of them, their treatment’s not working. ... So for us, we would love to see a day where they’ve done enough research that all of these kids make it to remission and nobody’s parent has to be told that their child is not going to get well.”

For more information about St. Baldrick’s, visit www.stbaldricks.org.