The story below on Joncee Lenker was shared with me by Bill Skelton (West Zone, Assistant Region Director, East Region, Southern California). Bill received the story from Monrovia Youth Baseball League's Chris Ferraro with information provided by Joncee's Mom and Dad.
(By Joncee's Mom and Dad)
When Joncee was just 13 days old he was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eyes. He began chemotherapy treatments at 21 days old to combat the growth of tumors in his right in an attempt to save his vision.
While in a waiting period of six months to determine what the eye tumors would do, he was diagnosed with an adult form of Leukemia right around his 1st birthday. It was also discovered the tumors in his right eye had resumed growth and his eye would need to be taken. Immediate treatment began for Leukemia before his eye would need to be removed. Upon completion of that first cycle of chemotherapy, it was determined the chemo was working on his eye as well and the doctor thought he would be able to save his eye.
After completion of all Leukemia treatments and laser treatments in his eye, he was given a clean bill of health in March of 2008.
On February 4th of this year, it was determined the tumors had returned to Joncee’s right eye and it was time to make the hard decision of removing his right eye. That surgery was performed on February 11th and we are awaiting the final prosthesis of his eye so he can fully return to playing in MYBL.
From a very young age Joncee has had a love for sports. Any sports. At 18 months he picked up a bat and began learning how to hit a ball. This was always surprising to his parents with the minimal vision he had in his right eye, but nothing was going to stop this determined little boy to play the sports he seems to have a natural ability at playing.
UPDATE ON JONCEE
Last month Joncee started having pain in his eye again and headaches. After an MRI and testing his parents learned that Joncee's Cancer was back and sadly Joncee had to have his right eye removed. Unfortunately after his surgery some of the Cancer cells escaped into his blood stream and he will have to start Chemo on April 1st at just 7 years old.
Joncee has continued to play ball even after his surgery and to add insult to injury, was drilled the first week of practice and lost 3 teeth. Most kids or parents would throw in the towel at this point but not him or them. He loves baseball and has some real talent.
With the baseball season just starting Joncee has played in 3 games for the MYBL Red Sox. In those 3 games he has hit for a single, double & 2 RBI's. Pitched 4 great innings & made a game winning out on a throw from 2nd base. All this with only 1 eye & 3 less teeth! It shows what an amazing kid he is and his ability to persevere through adversity at only 7 years of age is incredible.
If you are ever around the ballpark at Monrovia Youth Baseball League, stop by and say hi to a truly "AMAZING KID". Joncee is and should be an inspiration to all of us. Faced with a challenge no child or family should have to endure, Joncee has taught all of us to NEVER GIVE UP.