No child should have to face serious health problems alone. That’s why Easton Reeder is using his fight against a brain tumor to show others how to win their own battles.
Easton attends Sunset Elementary School in Brentwood, Tennessee. His favorite things in life are his faith, family, the University of Tennessee football, baseball and triathlons. His story should be an encouragement to all.
During the summer of 2021, Easton was involved in a minor accident which left him with a concussion. When the headaches continued, he was sent to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. After multiple scans, doctors discovered a brain tumor.
Easton’s dad, Jason, said, “The results were not even close to what we were anticipating. We were told that the tumor had been there for at least a year — if not more. The tumor was in the middle of his brain, and we were all scared. But the doctors and staff at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital were amazing. They were surprised that we found the tumor in the way that we did! We’re beyond grateful.”
Due to the location of the tumor, surgical removal was not a viable option.
However, speech therapists, endocrinologists, ophthalmologists and oncologists were optimistic that a low dose of outpatient chemotherapy would ultimately shrink the benign tumor.
Over the course of 58-weeks, Easton battled.
‘Why me? What did I do wrong?’
When asked about his outlook, Easton said, “The question I keep asking myself is, ‘Why me? What did I do wrong?’ But it’s not that I did something wrong — it’s that I did something right. I think God picked me and my family to show others that anything is possible.”
While Easton endured chemotherapy, his dad took the opportunity to persevere in his own way. Jason began to raise awareness for child brain tumor research by training for a 70.3 Ironman that he recently completed in June 2022.
Jason Reeder mentioned, “Over the course of my endurance training, Easton was totally inspiring me to increase my efforts. I’m encouraged by the hope in his eyes, and I’m reminded that we don’t have to do hard things alone.”
Enduring tough terrain together
The father-son duo has endured tough terrain together, but they are grateful for their loving community and the support of their church family. The Reeders attend The Church at Nolensville, a campus of Brentwood Baptist Church.
“When it seems that all of the heroes are gone, except in the movies, I can tell you that one hero still exists: Easton Reeder,” Jason said. “Easton is my hero, and I say that to him every time I see him. He always responds, ‘No, you’re my hero!’ Then, we both laugh and agree that Jesus is the real hero. But as he walks away, I make sure to yell out, ‘You’re still my hero!’
“When you meet Easton, you will never know the struggle he is facing. He exudes joy and courage. Yet, he is courageous enough to admit when he’s sad. He will talk about his frustration but is confident in the promises and plan of God. He is willing to trust and follow Him no matter what. He has a giant faith for such a young age. One hero still exists, and the world needs more Easton Reeders.”
Now, at the age of 11, Easton is hopeful for his future. When asked about sharing his story with others, he mentioned, “Some people might think of me as an old soul, but that’s because I understand more than an average kid. Through my life, God will show younger and older people that anything is possible through Christ.”