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Spaghetti dinner benefits cancer victim

March 08, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

WILLIAMSPORT -- While other volunteers were busy cooking spaghetti noodles, serving iced tea or cleaning tables Sunday, Brandon Myers was shooting funny videos.

"I'm going to show them to Josh, since he can't be here," Myers said of his friend and fellow Williamsport Blue Band member Josh Forsythe, who is battling cancer.

Proceeds from the all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner will go toward Josh's medical bills for treatment of Ewing's Sarcoma, an aggressive cancer with which he was diagnosed Sept. 5.

"The doctor called at 9 p.m. that night with the news that changed my life forever," said Ann Forsythe, mother of 14-year-old Josh, the only child of her and her husband, Scott.

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Typically healthy all of his young life, Josh first noticed pain in his right arm and right leg in 2007. Soon that leg pain left him unable to walk.

"Nine months went by and we thought it was fibromyalgia," his mother said.

Then a large lump developed on Josh's arm, prompting an X-ray that discovered a seven-centimeter tumor. A full body scan revealed 10 tumors all over his body.

Surgeries were followed by chemotherapy. Josh has typically been at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore for a week and then home for three weeks, his mother said.

Homeschooled, Josh was just notified he made the honor roll.

"Josh's courage and faith are incredible ... he fears nothing," said his aunt, Lori Forsythe. "He's keeping us going."

Sunday, while the dinner was going on, Josh was at home with his 91-year-old grandfather, Cyriel "Bub" Forsythe.

"They are inseparable, worrying about each other," Ann Forsythe said.

A trumpet player, Josh was new to the band this school year. Older band members said he was welcomed into the band "family" right away.

"He's a great kid, very upbeat," said Morgan Baker, drum major.

Band member Kayla Kelley was also at the school Sunday, ready to do whatever needed to be done -- for Josh and for the band.

Mark Crilly, one of the WHS band boosters/organizers, said word got around and everything for the dinner was donated.

Proceeds from the sale of elastic bracelets and other jewelry will be shared between the band and athletic boosters at the school. In February, the WHS athletic boosters held a pancake breakfast to raise funds for another student, Katie Stains, who is battling the same cancer.

Buoyed by all the community support Sunday, Ann Forsythe said her son is a role model for others facing cancer.

"He's very humorous about it all," she said.

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