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'He's always inspired us,' community rallies around childhood cancer patient

Posted at 5:20 PM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 18:20:21-04

DE PERE (NBC 26) — Childhood cancer is not keeping one De Pere boy down. Get to know Owen Obey and how the community is rallying around him.

  • See firsthand the results of a Rotationplasty surgery to remove a cancerous tumor
  • Seven year old Owen Obey is like any other boy, except, he was diagnosed with bone cancer last summer
  • After multiple surgeries and spending most weeks in the hospital for almost a year now, his positive attitude has inspired many people in northeast Wisconsin and beyond to donate money to help support his family

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

In this house with the yellow ribbons out front lives a child fighting bone cancer. I'm Pari Apostolakos and I met Owen Obey. He told me why his diagnosis isn't keeping him from doing the things he loves.

Like many other seven year old boys, Owen Obey loves to be outside, playing with his dog and playing video games, be with his siblings and ride his four wheeler.

But, last summer, his life changed.

"It's like watching a train come towards your child and not knowing how to stop it," Owen's mom, Chelsi Weber, said.

Weber says he started feeling pain in his leg and by July, doctors found a tumor in his left femur. He was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma or bone cancer.

He began staying in the hospital for weeks at a time for chemotherapy and a 12-hour surgery, called a rotationplasty, to remove the tumor and reattach the lower part of his leg backwards, so his ankle could act as a new knee with a prosthetic leg.

"Here is my prosthetic," Owen said in his living room Friday.

After surgery, he had to learn how to walk again.

"I'm really good at walking," he said.

"Was it scary to learn how to walk again?" his mother asked while putting on his prosthetic leg.

"No," Owen replied immediately.

"Did it hurt?" Weber asked.

"No," he said. "I wanted to learn how to walk so I could drive my four-wheeler and stuff again."

Then, another tumor was found in his left arm and one in his right collarbone. He's still undergoing treatment, but Owen wears his battle scars proudly.

"He's always inspired us," Weber said.

And he's inspired other people to give. At the time of this story's publication, a gofundme page benefitting Owen's family has raised more than $29,000 to help cover travel costs and medical expenses.

"[I'm] Really proud of him," Owen's dad, Wyatt Obey, said. "Never really expected that much support from anybody."

Owen's parents say more help is needed for research seeking to cure childhood cancer.

"They only get like five percent of federal funding," Weber said. "95% goes towards adult cancers. So a lot of what progress has been made is from parents and people that have met a childhood cancer survivor."

A fundraiser for Owen's family is being held Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. at Stadium View Bar and Restaurant in Ashwaubenon. In De Pere, Pari Apostolakos NBC 26.