Young Colt Cowell has a brain tumor

The Havelock Fire/Rescue Cancer Care Fund was established seven years ago for the purpose of supporting breast cancer patients.

“It doesn’t go for a cure for cancer but it goes for the little things that help people out who have cancer,” said Charlie Winter, a firefighter/paramedict. “Last year we met a woman who had given up her therapy because she couldn’t afford the gas. Well, we stepped forward and we gave her the money for the gas and she continued her treatment and today she is in remission and cancer free.”

Providing gas cards is just one of the things that the fund does.

“We do mammograms. We do prescription medications. We have helped a bunch of little children who had cancer go to camp last summer in Atlantic Beach,” Winter said. “It’s the things that people don’t think about when they have cancer.”

The fund has contributed more than $70,000 to such causes since it was started.

“This fund not only benefits the residents of Havelock, but the entire region,” said Megan McGarvey, of CarolinaEast Medical Center, which manages the fund through the CarolinaEast Foundation in New Bern.

The fund now not only supports women fighting breast cancer, but also others fighting cancer, such as 4-year-old Colt Cowell, of Bayboro, who found out he had a brain tumor the size of a golf ball in August.

Colt is the son of Lauren and Chad Cowell.

The parents noticed that their son was complaining of a headache on July 29 and an MRI revealed that Colt had a metastatic tumor in the spinal cord and the brain. Within days, the boy underwent surgery to remove the growth.

“First we were told that he may not make it through surgery,” said the boy’s mother. “Then we were told that the Colt that we knew before surgery may not be the Colt that we know after surgery. Me and my husband were like ‘we will take whatever we can get.’ If he doesn’t speak again, at least he’s here.”

Three days later, Colt said his first words.

The family stayed in the hospital for a month while Colt recuperated.

“Now we are doing chemo and radiation therapy and we are having to drive back and forth every day to Greenville,” said Lauren Cowell.

The Havelock Fire/Rescue Cancer Care Fund paid for a credit card to pay for the gas for the family’s daily visits to the hospital.

“That has greatly helped us. We have been able to use that for gas going back every day for treatments as well as medical bills coming in daily,” the mother said. “Our son is 4 years old, so he has to be put to sleep every day for radiation.”

Colt will not be through with treatment until October of next year.

“That’s a very long time, especially if your child asks daily can they stop doing treatments,” she said. “We tried for explain to him as best we could that he had boo-boos in his head and that we are going to the doctor daily to get rid of the boo-boos. His thing now is can he keep the boo-boos, so it gets hard trying to explain to him wanting to stop every day. He doesn’t really understand the severity of what actually his boo-boos mean.”

The Cowells said they are grateful for the financial support that the fund has given.

“It all adds up so we cannot thank the foundation enough, the fire department and everyone who contributes to this cancer fund foundation that helps families,” Lauren Cowell said. “I strongly encourage people to support this whole mission. Before now you would think that it’s not going to be you. My child is not going to be the one with cancer. The support they do. You have no clue. It greatly helps us. It is one less stressor on a mountain of stress.”