Battling cancer or any major disease is tough on any family. Especially for a single mother of two who's oldest son was diagnosed with leukemia. Coming together to support the family classmates and friends have a unique way of showing support.
Betsy Lauf's first grade class at Jefferson City's St. Peter's school prays regularly. It is not just part of their curriculum, it is for seven year old Dylan Pirner.
Last month Dylan was diagnosed with leukemia. On Friday, he made a special trip to class to receive a card from classmates, but has been out of school for several weeks.
"My whole word just kinda went|changed after that, that this could happen to him. He's always been a lovable child, " said single mother Angela Pirner, "You meet him and you can't help but love him."
Dylan's leukemia altered life for everyone.
"Being a single parent or not it's something no parent wants to deal with. For any parent it's overwhelming its just a little bit harder now because I don't have the other support...I mean I do have other support but I mean its just not....its just very hard," stated a frustrated Pirner.
I asked Dylan if he feels like he's getting a lot of support from his mom and friends, "Yea," quoted a shy Dylan.
"It affected me as a mother, because I realize how lucky I was that my own kids were healthy," said Dylan's teacher Betsy Lauf, "But I also see as a teacher and mother that Dylan's a really strong little boy."
In a letter written by Dylan at University of Missouri Hospital, where he is getting treatment, he explains his illness and his need for chemotherapy. Worrying about losing his hair, classmates along with St. Peter's school principal gave Dylan their support in the best way they knew how.
When Dylan's doctors recommended he shave his head before his hair fell out, his friends decided to do the same.
"We wanted to do something nice for Dylan, we don't want him to feel left out. I really do miss him he's my cousin," said classmate Tyler.
"I don't think its courageous its a no brainer," said principal of St. Peter's school Dr. Joseph Gulino, "I have to. Anytime a little person has to deal with something like that its just really makes you hurt."
"I'll have to use a lot more sunscreen than I did last year," said Dylan. Getting ready for summer, the usually energenic boy is optimistic he can still go swimming despite battling his illness.
To catch up with missed school work Dylan works with a special tutor. Dylan will continue with his checkups at University of Missouri Hospital. Right now his medicines increase his appetite, especially for Taco Bell. After getting his head shaved his mother brought him to the fast food joint for tacos and nachos.