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Health: Community becomes ‘Treystrong’ to aid sick child

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Marion and Melanie Busby say they have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy — and money — from the community in the week since their 11-year-old son, Trey, was diagnosed with lymphoma and started chemotherapy.

Melanie Busby said the first clue that something was wrong came when her son complained about being short of breath after shooting basketball in the family’s driveway last week. “Trey is one of those kids who plays tournaments and can play all day long,” Melanie Busby said. “He shot five baskets and was having a hard time breathing.”

She questioned Trey further after he said he felt like he had been running for miles and he admitted that he was having trouble sleeping because he couldn’t catch his breath. “We took him to the doctor’s office,” she said, “and they initially assessed him and found something on a chest x-ray. All of a sudden it’s radiology, and we’re at MUSC. It all happened so fast.”

Doctors told the boy’s parents and older brothers Justin and Jalen that they had found a mass from his neck to his rib cage. The tumor is pressing on Trey’s trachea, closing it off to the size of a drinking straw that’s been pinched, his mother said. “They watch to make sure he’s not stopped breathing,” she said. The diagnosis was lymphoma.

Facebook exploded with sympathetic and encouraging posts about Trey’s illness. “It makes me cry,” his mother said. Trey’s father is head coach of the girls basketball team and assists with the boys at Waccamaw High. The Busbys own Pawleys Island Golf and the adjoining business Good Times on Highway 17. Traci Kowalewski, a friend of the family through basketball whose son Devin is a close pal with Trey, started a “GoFundMe” account for expenses that has passed $20,000.

More than $1,500 from Saturday’s Regatta on Winyah Bay went to the Busbys along with $100 from the Waccamaw Sailing Club. “Small Talks,” a band of two girls and a boy, raised $60 during a performance. Moe’s Original Bar B Que will donate a portion of its Sunday proceeds to the family and host a music show “#Treystrong” from 6 to 9 p.m. featuring Paddle Company.

Busby said she’s trying to be upbeat with her Facebook posts. “I want all his friends to see he’s the same silly Trey and he’s fine,” she said while her son played air hockey with his dad in the hospital atrium. Kathy Saxton, mother of a classmate at Waccamaw Intermediate School, made Trey a special shirt that says “I Got This” on the front and “God’s Got My Back” and “#Treystrong” on the back. He asked a nurse to unhook his tubes so he could put it on for his CT scan and breathing test. “I am so thankful to her for making it,” Busby said. “He thinks he’s Superman in that shirt.”

Trey will finish his first three rounds of chemotherapy today and may be allowed to come home until his next session. Treatment is expected to last four to six months. Doctors say there’s a chance he won’t need radiation.

Busby said her two older sons are constantly texting their younger brother. She worries that they aren’t learning anything in school. She told them their little brother is going to be OK. “He’s got a long road, and ugly road,” she said, “but it’s not the end of the road. It’s just a road. Then he’ll get back to regular life.”

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