Young Central Texas cancer patients discover ‘they’re not alone’

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(KWTX) A young Central Texas boy and girl who are both battling cancer have formed a beautiful friendship after a chance meeting, and their unusual bond was captured in a picture taken over the weekend that may appear to be sad, but that their mothers think is beautiful.

Gentry Dokter, 7, of China Spring and Parker Spearman, 5, of Hubbard, are both undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with cancer. (Courtesy photo)

Gentry Dokter, 7, of China Spring and Parker Spearman, 5, of Hubbard, are both undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with cancer, but they didn’t know one another until an encounter at a lemonade stand earlier this summer on a Central Texas roadside.

Since that meeting their friendship has blossomed and at a fundraiser over the weekend in Teague a picture was taken of the young children, left bald as a result of their treatment, as they embraced.

“It’s sad for the general public because you see two cancer kids that are both bald,” Parker’s mom Kristy Spearman said.

“But to me it’s happy because it shows that they’re not alone and that’s what they need to know.”

Gentry was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a very rare cancer that starts in the liver in December 2018 and started treatment the same month.

The second grader has since had nodules removed from his lungs and the majority of his liver removed.

Parker was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, in January and started treatment days later as well.

The two Central Texas families had never crossed paths until Gentry’s mom, Hannah, saw a social media post about a lemonade stand Parker was operating in Hubbard, a town the family would pass through as they drove from their home in China Spring to Hannah’s hometown of Kerens.

The stop at that lemonade stand this summer changed the lives of both children.

“I’m just glad that he has someone that is like him,” Kristy said.

“For a long time he struggled with always wanted to wear a hat because he didn’t have hair, but once he met Parker, he stopped wearing his hat as much.”

Parker and Gentry have made it a point to visit each other when they can including ice cream deliveries to hospital rooms and play dates at McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple where both go for treatment.

Their moms say cancer in many ways has left their children unable to be just kids, pulling them from their classrooms and isolating them in order to protect their immune systems.

“Parker is very alone,” Kristy said.

“She can’t go to school right now and can’t go to public places so having someone that knows what she is going through and right there with her is the most important thing.”

It’s a feeling echoed by Gentry’s mom who is having his schoolwork from China Spring completed in his own home as well.

“He talks to Parker, he likes playing with her. He’s just comfortable around Parker,” Hannah said.

Gentry is currently undergoing chemotherapy to ensure that any cancer cells that weren’t removed during the surgery are eradicated.

Parker faces two years of chemotherapy, but family says she, too, is doing well.

“I hope this is a friendship that lasts a lifetime,” Kristy said.