At first, no one thought much about the growth bulging near Levi Ward’s ankle.
By the time the boy from Whitewater went in for a scheduled MRI as it was becoming more noticeable, it had doubled in size.
Technically, the mass itself was not causing pain, but the pressure of trying to wear shoes became an issue.
He did not return to Central Elementary School in Banning after winter break, where he is an honor roll student.
It took nearly a month for the rare bone cancer prognosis to reach the family, and to save his own life, Levi bravely agreed to amputate his foot in order to prevent the cancer from spreading.
Support has started to trickle in from around the community, and a GoFund campaign has been set up to raise at least $10,000 towards the 9 year-old’s medical expenses.
To lift his spirits, the California Highway Patrol, Morongo Fire Department and the county Sheriff’s Department have sponsored a mini-parade to swing by his grandparents’ home at 1310 S. Hargrave St. in Banning this Thursday, where a fire truck will be stationed with Levi hanging out on top to watch.
The bone cancer is so rare, that medical teams are yet to determine what it is, according to Levi’s aunt Kelly Renteria, who moved from Banning to live in Fort Worth, Texas, but will fly home to surprise her nephew in time for the parade, which starts around 5:30 p.m. June 18, and to support him during his surgery this coming Friday.
For those who wish to contribute to his cause, follow the GoFund link online at https://www.gofundme.com/f/levis-cancer-battle .