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Miracle prayers soar high for Hawk
Feb 17, 2006 12:00 am
February 4, 2006
A standing-room-only crowd brought all of its hopes and faith into the Watertown High School gymnasium Friday night, just to give it all to a small boy and pray that, somehow, it will be enough to save him.
Doctors cannot remove the rare tumor that sits at the base of Hawk Smith's brain, for doing so would be too damaging to his brain stem. Radiation therapy, designed to kill the cancerous cells that are mixed in with the healthy ones, has done as much as it can do. And the steroids he takes are only designed to help improve some of his symptoms.
In fact, the 4-year-old has been given only a 5 percent chance of living another 12-24 months.
Hawk Smith needs a miracle.
But for one night, what seemed like all of Watertown came out to say, "we believe."
At 6 p.m. hundreds of people poured through the front doors of Watertown High for a benefit concert slated for 7 p.m.
As the makeshift stage on the gym floor was given its final touches, some people went to get seats, while others – some 300 of them – registered for the silent auction.
"People from everywhere have been donating so many items," volunteer Christine Miller said. "The generosity of this community is overwhelming."
Miller, who teaches at Watertown elementary with Hawk's mother, Lindy Smith, echoed the thoughts of so many in the close-knit East Wilson County town.
Along with the pride they felt in seeing what their community was capable of in a time of need, there was the shock of hearing a boy who seemed so healthy could be so sick.
"I was absolutely shocked that something like this could happen so quickly," Miller said. "Being a mother myself, I can't imagine what Lindy's gone through already."
Watertown Elementary Principal Anita Christian said the groundwork for Friday's event was laid just after the Christmas break – weeks after she first learned of Hawk's condition, called Pontine Glioma.
2005 "Nashville Star" candidate Jason Meadows volunteered to be the main performer, and "everything just came together" after that, Christian said.
But Christian said she also wanted to get students involved. Before going on leave, Lindy Smith was teaching fourth- fifth- and sixth-grade special education students at Watertown Elementary. So Christian asked Watertown's music teacher Marilyn Willoughby to have kids in those grades perform as well.
For the past three weeks, students have been practicing their hearts out, all for Hawk, Willoughby said.
It was not easy, "but the children really bought into the idea of making a difference," Willoughby said.
Smith said the concert was "awesome."
"It just warms my heart that so many people care about us," she said. "We have appreciated so much the monetary support, but all the thoughts and prayers of so many people have meant even more."
Smith acknowledged she and Hawk are living on hope. Yet, she is determined to give him as full a life as possible.
Next Tuesday the Make-A-Wish Foundation is sending the Smiths to Disney World for a week, something Smith said she is extremely grateful for.
"We just want him to have the best life possible while we've still got him." she said. "And we're just praying and hoping for a miracle."
But as Smith learned first hand Friday night, miracles do happen.
When 14-year-old Rachel Beery was 7, doctors told her mother, Laura, that Rachel had a rare, inoperable brain tumor and had only months to live.
"The doctor looked right at me and said 'There's no hope,'" said Laura Beery, who came to Watertown High to support the Smiths Friday night. "And that's when we just stood on faith."
Rachel, who also attended, is now in the seventh-grade at Carroll-Oakland Elementary.
"I just encouraged Lindy to keep hoping and praying," Beery said. "Miracles do happen. We have one right here in Lebanon."
Staff Writer Jared Allen can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 15 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.