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Boy, 7, dies after battle with cancer

September 02, 2006|by DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN - Family and friends will gather a week from now to celebrate the life of a Smithsburg boy who this week died after a 9-month fight with cancer.

Ian Rhys Rogers died Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore of a highly malignant form of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, just three weeks past his seventh birthday.

"He was a very spiritual, God-loving, nature-loving boy who had a lot of friends," his father, Jeff Rogers, said Friday. Many of those friends, some of whom Ian and his family never met, have contributed to Operation Ian to help pay for medical care and other costs beyond what the family's health insurance covered, Rogers said.

"The community and local churches have been very supportive," along with his son's school, he said.

Ian's CaringBridge Web site (www.caringbridge.org) also showed more than 55,000 visits since he first fell ill in December 2005, and chronicles how he and his family have dealt with the disease as it progressed.

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"I know there have been thousands of people keeping up with him," Jeff Rogers said.

Jeff Rogers said many of the gifts his son received in recent months related to his interest in nature, animals and particularly insects.

"Since he was 3, he wanted to be an entomologist," Rogers said.

Ian showed no signs of illness until Dec. 5, 2005, when he complained of a headache and dizziness while at school. Tests at Washington County Hospital revealed bleeding and a mass in the area of his brain stem, which in March was diagnosed as glioblastoma multiforme.

Visitation will be tonight from 6 to 8 p.m. at Douglas A. Fiery Funeral Home in Hagerstown. Ian will be buried Sunday at 2 p.m. in Smithsburg Cemetery.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, there will be a "Celebration of Life" memorial service at Frederick Seventh-day Adventist Church.

"We want to encourage all of you joining us for any of the services to wear bright, fun colors, and bring any stories of Ian's silliness, caringness and all-over lovingness," Ian's mother, Heather wrote, Friday in the Web site journal.

Ian also is survived by a younger brother, Colin, his father said.

Although the cancer that took his son's life is rare, Jeff Rogers said he cannot imagine another family having to go through a similar ordeal.

"You just have to hug those kids and pray they not become one of those statistics," he said.

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