TYLER (KYTX) - A Tyler family of 10 has given back to the community in many ways, and is now needing support of its own. The Rucker family's youngest member, 8-month-old Sawyer, has recently been diagnosed with cancer.
The Rucker household is crowded, and loud, and full of love.
"We do have a big family. We never thought we'd have a family this size," says Dad and Team Captain, Joshua Rucker. He has learned life is full of unexpected twists and turns.
"We have four biological children, and four adopted children from 15 to 8 months old," he says.
Joshua's wife Heather gave birth to the youngest Rucker teammate, little Sawyer, 8 months ago.
"We just got back from vacation about three and a half weeks ago. Sawyer was experiencing fatigue, and his color didn't look good. As soon as we went to the pediatrician, our doctor knew something was wrong. We headed to Children's Hospital in Dallas and immediately he was diagnosed with ALL, acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
He takes deep breaths as he talks about coping.
"We're taking it day by day," Joshua says. "The first couple of days, as any parent would, we could barely stand up. And the community, Tyler's just a special community."
He thought his family was big at 10. Well now, it's expanded to hundreds
"Through our school, Grace Community School, through our church, Tyler Christian Fellowship, we have all the family that we could absolutely want that's rallied around us."
Medical bills on top of daily expenses for the large family have become hard to handle, so the support is crucial. He says he truly believes that love, support, and prayer from his community have helped sawyer improve every day.
"We have really good news. There's a long road ahead of us, but Sawyer is in his 18th day of treatment with chemotherapy. By day 17 he was technically in remission. His white blood cell count was off the charts at 540,000," Joshua says.
Sawyer will have to continue chemo for three and a half more years, but the miracle in all of this is that there is so much hope.
"Our prayer to God is that Sawyer will be a walking testimony," Joshua says.
The long road ahead won't be easy, but with a community full of dedicated fans, Joshua knows his team will never be alone.
If you want to help the Rucker family, there are lots of things you can do. If you would like to provide a meal for their children in Tyler, please sign up at http://www.carecalendar.org/login/188106. The Calendar ID is 188106 and the Security Code is 6631.
If you would like to give to assist with their out of pocket and medical expenses, visit https://www.facebook.com/RuckerFamilyDonations on your computer (not available on mobile devices) or you may mail a check to:
The Sawyer Rucker Fund
c/o Karen Parmlee Grace Community School
3001 University Blvd
Tyler, Texas 75701