Drew Bowman, also known as “Drew Bear”, is a seven-year-old boy from Alto who has a passion for sports. Like any other rambunctious kid, his parents Kerri and Jason Bowman said he's an active little guy.
However, on May 22, Drew's life drastically changed. He was diagnosed with ALL leukemia.
“About six weeks ago he started being real tired and he was just pale. He was having bad headaches, but we never dreamed it was this,” said Kerri.
Drew, an energized boy, has been temporarily immobilized by leukemia.
“It's a big change. He mostly just lays around and his stomach always hurts, his head always hurts, he's always tired. He's just not the same at all,” said Kerri.
Not only have there been physical changes with Drew, there have also been emotional ones that don't resemble the same person you see in old photographs where he's flashing a bright smile.
“He's real distant now. He doesn't want people looking at him much. He doesn't talk much because of it,” said Kerri.
His now-introvert personality has come from the treatments doctors warned could have other side effects.
Flashbacks of the day the Bowmans learned Drew had cancer haunts them. Kerri and Jason describe that day as a nightmare they will never forget.
“How do you tell your 7-year-old they have leukemia?” said Kerri.
“Anytime you're told that your son has leukemia, I'm pretty sure there's not a parent in this world that's not going to be devastated, but through family and our community it's been awesome,” said Jason.
That support, added with prayer, is exactly what the Bowman family is clinging to. That became even clearer for Jason after one day at the hospital.
“I had my headset on and I was sitting there waiting on a bus. I was listening to Pandora ‘Southern Gospel' channel and the very first song that came on was ‘Your Cry Has Woken the Master.' I was just sitting there and it overwhelmed me. I just went to bawling and crying,” said Jason.
Losing his hair is what Kerri said has been one of the most difficult transformations for Drew through this process.
“He did not like that. That was probably the most upsetting thing for him,” said Kerri.
News quickly spread about Drew, and his teammates were quick to respond. One by one, each 7-year-old got their heads shaved.
“My sister has a beauty shop. We went there and we had two people buzzing hair for probably about an hour and a half,” said Kerri.
“He [Drew] didn't want to do it, but they had to do it,” said Cooper Collie, Drew's teammate. “It felt pretty awesome and stuff because Drew was going to lose all his hair.”
“I wanted to do it so Drew wouldn't get embarrassed because he's been my buddy and my best friend,” said Rand Sturrock, Drew's teammate.
While these boys may not be able to comprehend the concept of battling leukemia, they certainly can tell playing baseball is different without their buddy Drew.
“He's a part of our team and we miss him. I'll pray and be there for him because he was always been there for me,” said Sturrock.
“He was a real good catcher in right field and he could hit real good,” said Tarren Hicks, Drew's teammate. “He's my baseball buddy and we're real good pals.”
Drew has not only touched these boys lives, but this 7-year-old has inspired his own parents through his battle.
“He inspires me daily. He was feeling bad the other day and he said, ‘Dad will you pray with me?' And I'm like ‘Sure,' I mean what do you say? That shows you he knows that there's a God and he knows where his place is. So he's a big inspiration to us,” said Jason.
Drew started his fight with 72 percent leukemia cells. After six chemotherapy treatments and lots of prayer, Drew now has just .37 percent leukemia cells left in his body.
However the road to recovery is far from over.
Drew has treatment once a week for eight months and then will get treatment every three weeks for the next three and a half years.
The Bowman family has asked for prayers more than anything. Drew's little league baseball team in Alto, the Texas Rangers, have made T-shirts that they are selling to help the family both financially and emotionally. If you are interested in buying one, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. They've also created a Facebook page called “Prayer for Drew Bear” in which you can be a member by contacting the email above. Drew also has an account at Austin Bank in Rusk called “Drew Bowman's Benefit Account.”
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