Tristan Brewer, son of Randy Brewer and Jennifer Childs, is fighting cancer and Discover Point Church in Conyers has organized a 5K fundraiser for the family on Nov. 10.
COVINGTON -- If you ask 3-year-old Tristan Brewer about the operation he had a few months ago to remove his kidney, he'll gladly show you his big boo-boo, a scar that runs from his back, around his side, and to his belly button.
Then, he'll make a muscle with his arm to show you how strong he is, said his father Randy Brewer.
"It's been tough, but he's my hero," said Brewer, a Newton County resident.
Tristan is battling cancer that started as a stage four Wilms' tumor, the size of a softball, on his kidney. The tumor was discovered in August. Doctors removed the kidney, but the cancer has also spread to Tristan's lungs. The toddler is undergoing chemotherapy and a second treatment of radiation at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
In an effort to help the Brewers with mounting medical bills, church members at Discover Point Church in Conyers, where Randy and Tristan attend, have organized a 5K race. The fundraiser, dubbed Troopers for Tristan, takes place at 9 a.m. Nov. 10. Cost is $20 for preregistration (by Oct. 27) which comes with a T-shirt, or $25 the day of the race but no T-shirt is guaranteed. Cost for children 8 and under is $10.The running route will begin at Discover Point, 1303 Parker Road, head north into Olde Town Conyers, then south out of Olde Town via Parker Road, past the trail behind the Rockdale tennis courts and eventually make a circle back to Discover Point.
Members of the Discover Point Young Adult Life group, a Bible study group, came up with the idea for the race. Race organizer Caroline Button said she and other members of the church had visited Tristan in the hospital and could see the family's stress over his illness.
"It was just a need, a financial and emotional need, to let them know that we were there to support them," said Button of the race.
Tristan's disease is a rare form of cancer found mostly in children. The toddler has roughly 19 weeks left of chemotherapy, said his father, and because there are still spots of cancer on his lungs, he'll start eight more days of radiation on Monday. Tristan has lost about seven pounds and recently had to have a blood transfusion.
Through it all, Tristan manages to maintain his energy and sunny disposition, said his father. During his blood transfusion, he played with his trucks and cars and recently he did a little dancing while having pizza in a restaurant.
"Spirit-wise, he is amazing," said Brewer.
Brewer said he is optimistic about his son's recovery and that doctors told him that there is a 90 percent success rate of being cured from Wilms' tumors.
Brewer said watching his son fight cancer has altered his priorities. Problems he had before seem small in comparison to what his son is going through now.
"It's really changed my life," said Brewer, who works as a shipping clerk for a local business. "I get up early and drive him to Egleston and Emory and do radiation and go to work for eight hours and get up and do it again. It's given me a lot of strength."
To learn more or to register for the race, visit www.troopersfortristan.com.