Three-year-old Oaklie Humphries lives up to her unique first name.
It’s taken from the Bible; Isaiah chapter six, verses one through three. “For they will be called ‘oaks of righteousness,’ a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
A verse Oaklie and her family are learning first hand as the little girl battles acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL. She was diagnosed in January of this year and almost immediately started chemotherapy.
“That first week was extremely hard, not knowing what was happening,” explained Whitney Humphries, Oaklie’s mom. “But every week after that, it’s gotten much better. It’s still hard to see her get poked each week, but she’s getting better with that too. It’s becoming a routine…a new kind of normal.”
“The first couple of weeks was kind of a shock,” said Jacob Humphries, Oaklie’s dad. “I’d be lying to say that fear didn’t take hold a lot of times. But the network of support that we had, people coming to be with us, and stay with us…that’s what really sustained us.”
Instead of going to ballet class, Oaklie now spends at least one day a week traveling from LaGrange to Atlanta, where she receives treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta. Soon, those trips will turn into overnight stays for the family, as Oaklie transitions to a different form of chemotherapy. It’s a routine Oaklie and her family will adjust to for the next two and a half years, as the little girl continues treatment to make sure the cancer stays in remission. The Humphries said so far, Oaklie has responded amazingly well to the chemotherapy.
“Since the diagnosis, we’ve had nothing but good news. Everything’s been getting better and better,” said Jacob. “She’s responded to treatment as good as we could’ve hoped for. She’s not been sick. She’s had very few side effects. She’s felt good, for the most part. We forget sometimes that we have a sick child. “
The Humphries said the support from their families, friends, and even strangers has been overwhelming. It’s allowed them to focus on Oaklie’s treatment and their one year old son, Asher. Jacob said from the start, people brought them food, clothes, stayed with Asher, and cleaned their house. In the past few months, the community has rallied around the family, by raising money through a “cut-a-thon” and a “support night” at the local Chick-Fil-A.
Now, friends and family are gathering once again, hosting the “Strong as an Oak 5K run and Sprout Sprint” at LaGrange High School in May. All the money will go directly into an account for Oaklie at Charter Bank. Co-organizer, Lindsay Summerlin said the funds will help pay for the little girl’s medical costs and anything the family may need.
“Our goal is to raise awareness about childhood cancers, in addition to bringing the community together to support the family. To show them that we’re fighting with them,” said Summerlin.
The Humphries’ said they are amazed, humbled, and blessed by all the love and support.
“It’s hard to wrap my mind around how good God’s been to us, mainly through his people,” said Jacob. “They’ve taken care of every need that we have. From Oaklie’s diagnosis, until now, we just haven’t had a need to consider. Words can’t express the gratitude that we have.”
And faith. In the midst of Oaklie’s diagnosis and treatment, the Humphries’ said they are reminded of times when they helped out other family and friends in need. Rather than dwell on the worst part of their journey, Jacob said they will remain positive and comfort those around them.
“We know that God allows, and even ordains, suffering in this life and uses it in mysterious way for our good and his glory,” he said. “Hebrews 2 was fertile ground for us to remember that Jesus, for whom are all things, was perfected through suffering. Because of Christ’s work on our behalf, we can consider it all joy when we face trials because of the hope that we have in that…God has been very good to us!”
Through their faith, and like her name, three year old Oaklie and her parents are now becoming “strong as oaks.”
For more information on the “Strong as an Oak 5-k run and Sprout Sprint”, you can log on to the group’s Facebook page under the same name.