Cosplayers – or were they? – depicting the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers took time to bring a little sunshine to Sonny today in a Kentucky hospital while he was undergoing his eighth chemo treatment. That’s right: eighth!
The Lexington Comic & Toy Con is running March 14-16 in Heritage Hall at the Lexington Convention Center downtown. Among other guests, Amy Jo Johnson – best known for her role as Kimberly Hart, the Pink Power Ranger, in the 1990s sci-fi TV phenom Mighty Morphin Power Rangers -- makes her first fan convention appearance this weekend here.
And the young man getting all the attention from the Rainbow Warriors? Well, this is HIS story:
Georgetown (KY) Fire Department Captain Tim Thompson had great empathy for the 7-year-old named Sonny. The boy’s mom Christina taught school at Providence Christian Academy in Georgetown alongside Tim’s wife, Heather. They all go to church together, along with Sonny’s dad Jaron and little sister Evan.
Tim had great empathy for the boy and his situation, but it was fellow firefighter Bill Lewis who came up with the idea that would help defray medical costs for Sonny’s family as well as become a new fashion statement around
Young Sonny Cohen has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Bill came up with an idea to sell hats that would help the family meet the mounting expenses such a diagnosis can bring.
Ewing's sarcoma is a malignant small, round, blue cell tumor. It is a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone or in soft tissue. It occurs most frequently in teenagers and young adults. Again, Sonny is 7.
Although usually classified as a bone tumor, Ewing's sarcoma can have characteristics of both mesodermal and ectodermal origin, making it difficult to classify.
James Ewing (1866–1943) first described the tumor, establishing that the disease was separate from lymphoma and other types of cancer known at that time.
The hats are being financed now from the monies of hats that have been sold. Bill and a few other firefighters fronted the money to get the ball rolling, my friend Tim told me. To date, he added, the number of hats sold is nearing 100 with around 150 left to sell. That number most likely will be replenished.
“I have a step-son who is Sonny’s age who goes to Providence Christian Academy where Sonny’s mother teaches,” Bill said. “It really touched my heart that that little boy was having to go through this. I just wanted to help him, help the family and make it as easy as we could for them.”
And the idea for the hat, which are beanies from Wades Embroidery & Screen Print in Georgetown?
“We knew he was going through chemotherapy and Providence held a ‘Funny Hat Day’ in Sonny’s honor [he was experiencing hair loss] and so I got the idea it would be nice if everybody was wearing the SAME hat,” Bill explained. “We sold the first 50 hats in one day!”
“Sunshine for Sonny has been great for the Cohen family,” Tim said. “It was a catchphrase that started out as a Facebook group by a friend of Christina that led to events like TurningPoint [Church, in Lexington] members shaving their heads in support of Sonny when his hair started falling out from chemo, blood drives, the hats being sold and so many other inspirational stories under the Sunshine umbrella.
“I think Sonny has shown us all what bravery is. As firefighters, we face challenges daily and people call us courageous and brave, but I personally am not nearly as brave as this young man who is fighting the battle of his young life.
“I work with a bunch of men and women who are not real emotional. We can go from a bad wreck to eating lunch, from a fire to normalcy in just a matter of minutes. When it comes to kids, however, it's just human nature to hurt for them. Those are the runs that stick with you. I think that's why Bill was touched by the story. Knowing how it affected this young boy, it stuck with him. Also knowing that if his brother fireman was hurting for this family, he was going to help and that's what he did. Big-time.
“This is what firefighters do. When someone is hurting, we help. It's in our nature. That's what Bill did.”
Look for more coverage of the Lexington Comic & Toy Con in the days ahead. The event continues through Sunday.