Looking forward to a much better 2014, Devin, Alex and Terisa Scrabeck expressed thanks for all the support they received in 2013 as Alex fought a type of lymphoma and is now in remission.
Looking forward to a much better 2014, Devin, Alex and Terisa Scrabeck expressed thanks for all the support they received in 2013 as Alex fought a type of lymphoma and is now in remission.
Change, reinvention and excitement typify the New Year outlook as people look to shake up their life's routine. As everyone else tries to leave the hum-drum of normal behind, the Scrabeck family is looking forward to finding as much normal as possible.

Devin and Terisa Scrabeck's son Alex was diagnosed with lymphoblastic T-Cell Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on Jan. 19, 2013. "We wanted to get rid of last year," shared Terisa, adding the family's outlook on the New Year. "Twenty-fourteen is going to be way better."

In Alex's own words, it was a "pretty horrible year" as chemo treatments, countless hospital visits, seizures and many other symptoms of a weakened immune system forced he and his family to fight the cancer that came on suddenly. However, they weren't alone. Almost immediately after the diagnosis was made known, extended family, neighbors, friends, classmates, and community members launched their counter-attack. Donations of money, food, kind words, thoughts and prayers began pouring in.

"People that I didn't really know came up and helped," shared Devin, calling the amount of support surprising. He had time to get used to it because it continued throughout the year.

During the summer, the Scrabecks put together a Relay for Life team and enjoyed being a part of that evening of remembrance and celebration. "You find yourself thinking about how lucky you are," said Terisa. She also mentioned that the event showed her how many people in Fillmore County have been impacted by cancer. "There is always someone to come and help you."

Alex echoed her statement adding that Relay For Life helped him see "just how kind people can be." Their team of around 25 people sold "Fight for Alex" T-shirts and jewelry. The event went all night and early morning. "We made it until 10 p.m.," laughed Terisa. The whole family plans on being there again next year and has already raised over $1,200 through various fundraising campaigns including selling hair dangles matching Fillmore Central's colors for the state volleyball tournament.

Being the recipient of so much support has inspired Alex and his parents to get more involved with helping other kids and their families affected by cancer. Through their visits to the hospital for Alex, they have met a couple other local kids who have been fighting leukemia. Terisa explained that it's still difficult for them to volunteer time now, but is something they look forward to doing in the future.

Alex was notified that he was in remission on Sept. 11, 2013. He hopes to be able to complete the chemo schedule the same month he would graduate from Fillmore Central: May 2015. Currently, Alex is in a "maintenance mode."

"The bad days are over," shared Devin optimistically, including that the family had learned how to take fighting cancer one day at a time. "It's surprising how fast it went now that we've come through it," he added.

Though the prognosis looks very good, Terisa said the chance of relapse never completely leaves their minds. Alex has been able to keep the topic of cancer off of his mind more easily since he is able to attend school and participate in several extra-curricular activities regularly.

Getting back to normal

"It felt great, just from a mental standpoint. It made me feel like I was stronger," explained Alex on being able to go to school and get involved. Alex plays trombone in the school's marching, concert, and jazz bands. He also sings in the concert choir and Tapestry Choir.

This year, he also decided to try out One-Act as a crew member where he manages audio for the play. Backstage with all his friends has been a place where Alex has been able to regain normalcy in his life. "My friends have my back," he stated. He is looking forward to participating in the spring play and when the temperatures warm, hitting the golf courses.

One of the most meaningful experiences Alex has been able to share with the community this winter is through the basketball team. Not able to compete on the team this year, Alex was able to stay with the team as a manager. He showed up to the first practice of the year not knowing the plans head coach Aaron Mensink had for him.

While going over pre-game warm-ups, coach Mensink went over to Alex and showed him a drill which would have Alex point in different directions that the team would then follow in running their drill. At the end of the drill, Alex would slap the ground and the entire team would dive forward toward him.

"That's all he told me. At first it seemed weird, but it got to be pretty fun," Alex remarked.

Its debut at the first home game was a hit. Terisa, who hadn't been able to make the game, found out about it the next day when everyone at work was talking about it.

"I get pretty pumped up when I'm out there," Alex shared.

Devin shared that he is looking forward to next year with Alex when he can get back to playing on the court and participating in the honor bands and choirs he had been in before.

A thank you

The Scrabecks sent out their Christmas card as more of a massive "thank you" card. Their gratitude for the community's continued support and Alex's improvement has not subsided and they look forward to being able to report even better news once 2014 is over as well.