Fund set up to help family of bone cancer patient, 7

Tumors reappear in boy battling life-threatening illness for 2 years

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

July 17, 2008 - If you were to pass by Zi-Karryus Ivery's home and saw him outside playing, you'd never know that the just-turned 7-year-old is battling a life-threatening illness.

Zi-Karryus has been fighting osteosarcoma for the past two years, and his mother this summer learned that the bone cancer has spread.

The days Zi-Karryus spends outside playing with his 4-year-old brother L'Kyrn Cork are good ones, but even those come only with pharmaceutical assistance to ward off pain from tumors in his thigh, which cause the otherwise good-natured young boy to limp.

"People drive by and see him outside and think, 'He's outside playing, everything is OK," his mother said. "They don't know he's sick. Yeah, he's outside, but he's in pain."

Zi-Karryus, son of LaKenya Ross and Cameron Ivery, was diagnosed in the spring of 2006 with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer which causes tumors in his thigh bone. A portion of the tumor was surgically removed that year, but doctors were unable to get all of it. He had chemotherapy that spring and summer, which meant his mother was unable to work so she could take him to and from Dallas for treatments and care for him.

Ross had gone back to work at a local nursing facility part-time, working as Zi-Karryus' illness allows. But about two months ago, after learning Zi-Karryus has two new tumors to contend with, she again had to quit in order to ensure her son gets the care he needs

"He goes the 21st-22nd to M.D. Anderson," Ross said. "They're going to run some more tests and see where we go from there. It'll take several weeks, but they're going to try their best to help solve our problems."

She said her son was so ill, he spent his 7th birthday on June 24 in the hospital, and currently is on several medications to help manage his pain. To complicate things, he's developed a rash which has caused his eyes to swell.

"He's been sick off and on this whole time," Ross said. "They've given him extra medicine so he's not in pain."

The last few years have been "pretty tough" emotionally and financially. With more medical tests and treatments expected, the family is facing even more bills, the increased cost of gas, food and other expenses -- and more car payments after her vehicle gave out -- meeting finances is becoming even more difficult for the family of three.

Zi-Karryus and LaKenya Ross' friends are asking for the public's help for the family. They are asking those who are able to consider making donations to the fund established at First Convenience Bank, located inside Wal-Mart, in Zi-Karryus Ivery's name.

Ross's friends say even small amounts would be helpful in these economically difficult times.

"Last time, we did not have a lot of help [in donations to the fund]," Ross said. "I don't criticize anyone. If they can help fine. If they don't and can't, that's OK. With gas and food so high it is ridiculous, I understand if people can't. I appreciate whatever help."

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