CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - In May 2019, then-13-year-old Luke Post of Rockingham County, Virginia was brought to the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital. He was about to start years of treatment for Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a form of pediatric cancer.
“I was still pretty shocked,” he said, recalling the day he learned of the diagnosis. “It didn’t really faze me because it just didn’t seem real.”
Luke’s treatment of chemotherapy pills and other medications every night and every morning was a lot. When he wasn’t at UVA, he said he felt so sick he couldn’t even play video games - because that meant he had to walk all the way downstairs.
But through it all, Luke kept that necessary glass-half-full attitude.
“He brings such an immense amount of positive energy to everything that he does, and it seems to touch then everybody that then is working with us or supporting us,” said Michael Post, Luke’s dad.
“I want other people to feel good,” Luke said. “I want other people to have a safe environment.”
That brings this story to September 2020: Child Cancer Awareness Month. It was a chance for Luke to do exactly what he’s always wanted to do: help others, even though he’s the one undergoing treatment.
It all started with a shirt.
“I’m actually wearing it right now,” Luke said on a Zoom call, lifting the shirt toward his smiling face with his thumbs. “It says, ‘No one fights alone’ with the green font. And there’s a little green ribbon right here.”
Luke began selling those shirts. He expected to get maybe a couple of hundred dollars.
He’s raised over $6,000.
That money has gone back to UVA Children’s Hospital for a ‘teen’ room with video games and movies for teenagers just like Luke.
“I thought that that would help so [many] people,” he said. “I knew it would have helped me having something to distract me, or even just having something to get afterward as like a pick-me-up. Because pick-me-ups were really big for my treatment. That’s one reason that’s getting me through it right now.”
Luke now has August 2021 circled on his calendar. That’s when his last treatment is planned. But his impact at UVA will be felt far beyond the summer.
“Someone always has it harder than you. So try to make that person’s life a lot easier,” he said.
If you’d like to support Luke and the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital’s effort to get new activities for teenagers, you can purchase the ‘#LukeStrong’ shirt here.