Wardsville boy raises money for his dad, cancer research

The Atnip boys have raised hundreds of dollars for cancer research.

A Wardsville family has a reason to smile in the face of illness.

What started out as a poster selling project turned into something worth much more than the money that was raised.

Justin Atnip just wanted to help his dad.

"I just got bored one day and started making posters and got a lot of money," the 7-year-old said.

Justin's father, Alan, has a rare form of Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone and muscle cancer normally found in children. He was diagnosed in January 2012, and has been battling the illness ever since.

His doctors at the Siteman Cancer Center at the Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis said he has been responding well to chemotherapy treatments. He recieves treatment every three weeks.

Doctor Brian Van Tine at the Siteman Cancer Center said Alan has an amazingly supportive wife and three great kids. He stressed their importance to Alan's continued recovery effort.

"Your support system is everything. If you don't have the financial support and you don't have the community support this becomes a difficult thing to get through," he said.

Alan's wife, Kim, shared her son's idea on her Facebook page, mainly to show her friends and family how proud she was to have such caring sons.

Alan is a very proud dad, too.

"Basically they came home every day from school, knocked out their homework, and started jumping on their poster project. I'm very proud of my sons, very proud of them for coming up with the idea, and very proud of all of them for the selfless actions that they were doing. So proud of them for thinking of someone else," Alan said.

Word spread to friends, family, neighbors and classmates, who wanted to buy Justin's posters and help with the cause.

In just two months, Justin raised nearly $395 to donate to the Discovery fund at the Siteman Cancer Center.

I asked Justin and his brothers, Nolan, 11, and Michael, 4, what were their favorite posters to draw?

The Mizzou Tigers, of course. The Oregon Ducks also ranked high on Justin's list.

Since the posters were such a hit, Nolan and Michael decided they wanted to help their dad, too.

The trio of brothers are now making yarn bracelets to sell at school.

"We'd just take a couple to school and kids would just have money and say they'd bring it in tomorrow and we've already made some money like ten bucks," Nolan said.

The Atnip boys said they will continue to raise money to help others, like their dad, who are battling cancer.