Press-Republican

September 17, 2012

Valiant child fights rare disease

By LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — MORIAH — On days when little Connor Bruce Courtright feels sick, he manages a smile anyway.

The 6-year-old is fighting B-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, a rare disease with symptoms similar to childhood leukemia, and he must go for once a week for treatment at Fletcher Allen Healthcare in Burlington.

“He’s doing OK,” said Connor’s uncle Matt Courtright of Port Henry. “It’s one day at a time for Connor and his parents. But he’s a trouper.”

Connor, the son of Joseph Courtright of Ticonderoga and Kim McCaffery of Moriah, attends Moriah Elementary School.

‘AMAZING RESPONSE’

A benefit dinner for Connor will be held at the Knights of Columbus hall in Ticonderoga at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3. Dinners will be served until sold out. Takeouts will be available. There will also be a raffle and door prizes.

The menu will include homemade marinara sauce and meatballs, angel-hair pasta, homemade baked ziti and lasagna, as well as tossed salad, rolls, butter and cookies.

The cost is $10 a person, with all proceeds to benefit Connor and his family for treatment, travel and other expenses related to the child’s fight against cancer.

The benefit dinner is sponsored by John and Joanne Bartlett, the Knights of Columbus and Eddie’s Restaurant. If possible, diners are asked to RSVP to 546-3148 or email matthewjcourtright@gmail.com so organizers can estimate how much food they need to prepare.

“Everyone in the area has been amazing,” Matt said. “People and businesses have been overwhelming with their help. This community stepped up like nothing else matters. People put everything aside to help Connor.”

He said the family hopes people will attend the dinner, not just to continue their support, but so they can greet and thank them.

‘MY HERO’

Crown Point Network Technologies is also helping and has donated “Team Connor” T-shirts that are being sold to raise money for the family. The shirts are available at the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce and will be sold at the benefit dinner.

Connor is getting excellent care at Fletcher Allen, Matt said, but it’s still grueling for everyone.

“It’s a long road over there, back and forth constantly,” he said. “He needs to have a blood-cell count the day before each treatment, but he can have that here, at Inter-Lakes Health in Ticonderoga.”

Despite his illness, Connor is still a happy child, his uncle said.

He’s handling it well,” Matt said. “The doctors are very positive about the outlook, but it’s two years of treatment. 

“He always has a smile. I call him my hero.”

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com