• Teen battling cancer set to walk at graduation with support of firefighters

    By: Chris Jose

    Updated:

    CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - A Cherokee County student is proving if there’s a will, there’s a way. 

    Logan Droke, 17, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was 9-years old. He has been in and out of the hospital ever since. 

    In three days, Logan will walk on graduation day at Creekview High School. 

    “I know a lot more about Leukemia than I ever thought I’d want to,” said Randall Droke, Logan’s father. 

    Randall Droke is a Cherokee County firefighter. He’s no cancer expert, but he can tell you more about the deadly disease and his fight against it, more than most dads on the planet.

    “It’s Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, so it’s in the marrow,” said Randall. “Half of his life he’s been battling this.”

    Droke is hoping his son will be healthy enough for a treatment plan at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. He told Channel 2’s Chris Jose that doctors at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have tried everything locally. He says there’s no other treatment plan in Georgia. 

    The Droke family found a small plane in Cartersville, operated by Phoenix Air, to transport Logan to Houston. 

    It will cost the Drokes $18,000.

    “We don’t have that kind of cash,” Randall told Jose. “Logan is in need of the treatment plan that they (MD Anderson) they have.”

    The Drokes find comfort knowing they are not alone in the fight against cancer.


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    Firefighters from around the country are rallying behind Logan. They sent him well wishes through a YouTube video.

    The people who Logan considers heroes will see him graduate from Creekview on Friday.

    His father will be by his side in a “Class A” uniform. 

    “In the middle of battling cancer and graduating high school on time like he’s supposed to. It’s a wonderful thing,” said Randall. “Even if he has to be pushed through on a wheelchair or carried across, he wants to do it.” 

    You can donate to the Drokes' GoFundMe page HERE.

    They also wanted to share Logan’s scholarship essay for Channel 2 Action News viewers to read: 

    My dad is a firefighter and how he got to be one is an amazing story. Since 2011, when I was 9 years old, I have had Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a blood cancer.

    At the time, my dad was able to work from home. Even though he was at home, most of the time he was busy working. That was alright with me though, I was just glad I was able to have my dad close by throughout the time this was going on.

    I watched how hard he worked at his job, worked around the house and how much time he took to care for me and get me to all of my doctor’s and chemotherapy appointments. My dad is a hard worker and will do whatever it takes for his family. 

    In 2016 while my mom was at the grocery store and my dad and I were at the hospital getting treatment, my grandmother fell from the stairs and my younger brother called 911. The ambulance came and helped my grandmother because she was unconscious.

    They arrived almost as soon as the call was placed, they acted very professional and kind during the situation. My brothers felt safe with the firefighters being there, and they knew that things were going to be okay. Having the firefighters there that day to help us out was an amazing experience and we will never forget that day. It was also our first experience calling 911 and having firefighters there to help us through a stressful situation. 

    After this episode, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. It was something that when we found out about it, honestly felt like a nightmare. But, had the firefighters not been there that day to help my grandmother we most likely would've never found this out.

    My grandmother and I fought through our cancers together. The emergency services were always there when we needed them. Through the hard times even when it was stressful, they seemed to make it easier by speaking to us. For me, I will never forget how the EMS was kind to me and how much they do for others. Not too many people know how much they do, except the ones who receive their services. 

    They will say that they “are just doing our jobs.” But they do it with kindness while serving the community in very stressful situations.

    I am proud to say my father is now a firefighter and he loves his job. It makes me really happy to hear my father is able to save the lives of others and give back to our community for what they did for us. I remember the first time my father decided to join the volunteer fire fighters. It was after I started to recover in my treatment and was going into remission. When he decided to join them, he went on with this for a while, then after a little bit of time he decided that he officially wanted to become a firefighter. 
    Throughout my life I have always known my dad to be a hard worker and if he really wanted to do something, he would do his best to make it happen.

    When my dad started the process to become a firefighter, I was amazed. I always knew he was going to make it in, but the amount of effort he put in was just the greatest thing I have been able to witness my dad do. He was 45 years old when he decided to make this career change (the oldest guy in his training class) while working another job at the same time as his training. He would train all day, come home and study, do his other job, take care of us and start all over the next day. Watching him never give up and never complain has helped me in my fight against my cancer.

    “Whatever it takes” is the motto that my dad has passed down to me. When he puts his mind to it, my father has to finish whatever he has started. Quitting and giving up is never an option for him. 

    While my dad was going through his training to become a firefighter my cancer came back. There have been many months of treatment and hospital stays, but I know because of my dad’s example and having him at my side that I will never give up, I will fight hard and do whatever it takes.
     

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