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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Family hopes for helpers

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Central High senior Hunter Overcast is facing a number of challenges this Christmas and his family is asking for donations of both time and money to help them get through them.
(T-G Photo by Brian Mosely) [Order this photo]
While many of us are getting those final gifts wrapped for Christmas, 17-year-old Hunter Overcast, a senior at Central High, is steeling himself for another round of fighting cancer.

He's receiving a transplant this week, after which he'll be out of school for several weeks while a patient at Vanderbilt Medical Center, and his family needs all the help they can get on several fronts.

It's been a tough fight for Hunter, one he has been battling since he was 5. His grandparents, Clara and Harold Overcast, said the problems started out with histoplasmosis, impacting his immune system, followed by being diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma -- a type of skin cancer

Despite radiation treatment, chemotherapy and three operations on Hunter's face, the cancer keeps returning.

Help needed

His father Kevin has set up the Hunter Overcast Medical Expenses account at Heritage South Credit Union and is asking for donations. They are asking not only for financial help, but personal assistance as well, due to Hunter's needs following this week's procedure.

Hunter has to have infusions to boost his immune system every month, which he has undergone for the past 11 years, that run about $7,000 for each treatment. Insurance pays for some of it, but the deductible is eating away at their finances.

New procedure

Harold said that suitable bone marrow could not be found for Hunter for a transplant, so umbilical cord blood is being used in a procedure called hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. They "nearly have a perfect match," Harold said of the donor, and it is supposed to help Hunter's immune system fight the cancer.

However, his grandparents said that this latest procedure will totally diminish Hunter's immune system and that someone will have to stay with him around the clock all throughout his long recovery.

Clara said she could be reached at 684-8408 for those who wish to donate their time to help Hunter.

Long road ahead

"They need help because his father is going to have to take off from work and he can't afford to," Clara said of Kevin Overcast, who works a third shift.

Hunter was out of school 15 days for his last medical treatment, and was in "homebound" after that, but he attends school every day for three hours and had just completed his midterm exam when he sat down for this interview.

But his school schedule for next year is going to be up to his doctors and how he recovers from his treatment.

Second home

When he's in Nashville, he stays at Hope Lodge, where Hunter has made a lot of friends, his grandparents said. Following the transplant, he will be spending several months there.

Hunter stated that "any kind of help" would be appreciated, whether it is in the form of money, or just someone to stay with him when his family is unable to.

"To look at him, he looks good, he eats good .... but he's had this almost his whole life," Clara said. "They told him he could die, so he's very brave."

How to help

Contact Clara Overcast, (931) 684-8408, to donate time to help Hunter Overcast recover.

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