Have you ever met someone or heard a story of someone who you are just immediately in awe of? I had the pleasure of hearing an incredible story of, and actually meeting, a little 3rd grader using his horrible, life threatening experience to help the lives of other children going through the same experience. All I can say is, I want to be him when I grow up.
In 3rd grade, Luke Lange and his mother walked into my dads office, looking to get one final opinion on the enlarged lymph node. Every other doctor said not to worry, it was benigne, he could move along and enjoy his spring break. All cancer tests came back negative. However, when my father saw it, he would agree to disagree. And this was not the answer Mrs. Lange expected. This was not the news she wanted to comprehend. And while the caner test came back negative, my father still wanted to remove the lymph node. In removing the lymph node, a positive result came back after a few more cancer tests. At the age of 9, Luke Lange had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and immediately started chemo.
A few weeks into his treatments, Luke being a typical elementary school boy or anyone going through cancer, was tired of feeling sick along with looking sick. At that age, I remembered how everything you wore, how your hair looked, and how every comment you made determined if you were liked or disliked, if you were in the it crowd or didn’t quite fit in with you friends that day. This was exactly how Luke was feeling. He just wanted to be able to wear his Under Armor and Nike gear. Along with his dad, he was able to turn his desire into a tangible and possible product.
Luke and Mr. Lange took his shirts to the tailor, ripped them up, and figured out how to put snaps in the sides. This way, the wires that he had to be attached to all day could still be connected to his body, while he wore his favorite shirts. He was able to feel somewhat normal, while going through such a traumatic experience at such young age.
Now here is one of the best parts. Marc Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks caught wind of Luke’s idea and decided to team up and produce 500 of these shirts. Together they created Luke’s Fast Breaks. These were passed out to other cancer patients and sold in support of cancer research. Luke was awarded the “Spirit of Tom Landry Award”from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of North Texas this past February. I had the pleasure and joy of attending the St. Valentine’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show, where Luke (now in 5th grade and cancer free!!!) was awarded this honor.
He is continuing to produce the Fast Breaks and donating the money to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. To this day, he has almost raised 1 MILLION DOLLARS, and is currently talking to the Dallas Cowboys to created a shirt with their logo on it. I have never been more in awe to be in the presence of such a giving, kind hearted and strong spirited person. Let alone an 11 year old. I truly want to be like Luke when I grow up.