Just over two months ago thirteen year old Alyssa Boyer was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a cancer that typically occurs in children and young adults. She recently completed her fourth round of chemo-therapy at OSF Children’s Hospital in Peoria. Her mom, Amanda, says the treatments have gone very well and the doctors are very impressed with how their patient has responded. Treatments will continue with a possible surgery in the future.
Amanda says Alyssa has handled the entire ordeal very well, but last week she had to deal with the loss of her hair, which her mom said was very hard. So, her Great Uncle Loyd Deshane decided she needed a morale boost and began to plan a parade for Alyssa to show her the large number of family, friends, and supporters she has in Lyndon and the surrounding communities.
On Sunday afternoon at 5:00 a long line of police cars, fire trucks, classic cars, and family SUVs began proceeding down West 4th Street to pass by Alyssa and her family who had gathered in their yard.
DeShane and his crew organized over forty vehicles for the parade, which gathered at Lyndon’s Richmond Park before heading west. The cavalcade included members of the Clinton, Iowa Rod Club, fire and police units from Prophetstown and Lyndon and a trailer filled with staff and classmates from the PLT 6-12 Campus where Alyssa is an eighth grader.
“I just wanted to see her big smile,” said Amanda of her daughter. “She really misses her friends and she had a tough week with losing her hair.”
The theme for the parade was butterflies, which has become Alyssa’s calling card. Posters, gifts, balloons and best friend Stormy Schempf adorned with a butterfly costume, were all part of the event as Alyssa and her family watched in a shaded spot in their yard.
The final entry in the parade was “Leslie”, the pink fire truck, which is manned by volunteers from the Sauk Valley Chapter of Pink Heals. The group visits people who are battling cancer to offer encouragement and support. Alyssa added her name to the hundreds of others that cover the truck.
Alyssa’s dad Joe said,”This is one of the benefits of living in a small town. People come out to show their support.” The Boyers also have had great support from their family. They have five children and Alyssa also adores her two nephews Braxton and Bennett.
After the parade ended several staff members and students from the PLT 6-12 Campus returned to the Boyer home to drop off signs of encouragement and offer best wishes to Alyssa.
The star of the day said she is not a big fan of surprises as her family had tried to keep the parade under wraps until the last minute. “I was surprised there were so many and thanks for doing this,” said Alyssa when asked about her thoughts on the day. “I’m feeling great and doing well.”