Sunday, August 14, 2005

Extra Extra... read all about it

Real quick post, as some of you might notice the hour of this post... Another sleepless night. Some days dontcha just wish there was a simple on/off switch to control all the thoughts occupying one's mind?

So at the three o'clock hour, I find myself sitting in front of this monitor reading the online newspaper. So much better without the black smudges to tend with. I see an article in which the company we just bought our van from, went out-of-business. How do you suppose that works??? Of course as our luck would have it, it was financed through said belly-up company. Anyway --- further boredom, brought me to do a last name search and turned up the following article ran in the paper last month. I thought it was a nice piece. The benefit was organized in the beginning days of Josh's diagnosis, unbeknownst to us, while we were still in the hospital. The story was focused around the idea of a hodge-podge-family of softball players pulling together for one boy's courage. As for my family, for Jon's family, for OUR family, for our extended family and for our adopted families, I hope one day you will know how much we have and will continue to appreciate all the love and support you have shown us during these wearisome days!

Ballplayers go to bat for boy

'I wish it were fall." My friend trial-ballooned that thought, then snatched it back.
We're just weary of wilting when we walk, sweat rivulets snaking down our cheeks, sopping our sleeveless T's.
Marian Fromknecht and Brenda Horvath wish they could tinker with the calendar, too. Flip it back six weeks, before they learned that Fromknecht's son, Joshua, has leukemia.
Joshua is the fourth of Marian and Jon Fromknecht's five children. Trouble surfaced when Joshua, whose favorite superhero is Spider-Man, had trouble walking. The doctor thought it was juvenile arthritis.
Then Joshua couldn't walk. Blood tests were followed by a same-day call that the results didn't look right.
On May 31, Joshua was admitted to Pittsburgh Children's Hospital. Doctors did more blood work, discovered an enlarged spleen and lymph nodes and ordered a bone biopsy. The next day, the Fromknechts learned Joshua has leukemia and had to start chemo. Immediately.
They had packed a change of clothes, but they stayed in Pittsburgh for nine days.
Horvath and her husband, Joe, jumped in to care for the Fromknecht kids, shuttling them to ballgames and altar-serving duties. The men grew up together and the couples consider themselves family. They play euchre, spades and Texas Hold 'Em together. They cheer at their children's ballgames and attend classic-rock concerts.
Marian Fromknecht, the breadwinner, is on family leave from her job as an auto-CAD designer. Her husband is doing odd jobs. They just bought a used van, with over 100,000 miles -- serviceable for trips to the drive-in movies with the Horvaths but questionable for weekly hauls to Pittsburgh for Joshua's lengthy treatment.
I've written this story before, about other families hurled into an altered state after being popped by that six-letter word, cancer. That's why I'm walking in the Relay for Life this weekend. My husband Tom, who died from prostate cancer, would have been 64 on Aug. 21 -- the day Joshua turns 3.
Hundreds of Relay walkers raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Slam-A-Thon is a smaller effort to go to bat for one ill child. The fundraiser takes place today from noon to 4 p.m. at the softball fields behind the Boys and Girls Club, 1515 East Lake Road. Theme baskets and other prizes will be raffled. There will be Dino Jump, a pitching machine and food.
Teams from the North Coast Sports Association, a girls' and boys' softball league, will collect pledges for every pitch they hit. About 370 children -- including the Fromknechts' three girls -- play in the league. When Joshua is in kindergarten, he'll play, too, as will his brother Nathan, now 21 months.
Alexa Markiewicz, association director, organized the fundraiser. "I thought, what if it were my child?" she says.
Haven't we all.
Donations can also be made for Joshua Fromknecht at any Northwest Savings Bank.

LIZ ALLEN can be reached at or at 870-1735.

This content provided by Times-News. Last changed: July 17. 2005 12:00AM

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