Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Sports

February 12, 2014

Godley coach’s son diagnosed with leukemia receiving widespread support

WISHING OWEN WELL

GODLEY — Owen Turner, 9-month-old son of Godley Coach Joseph Turner and Allison Turner, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of Leukemia on Jan. 12.

Since then, it has been an enduring process for the Turners, but the support they’ve received from the Wildcat family has been immense, and on Tuesday, Joseph Turner was presented a check for $3,000 from the Texas High School Coaches Association to help with hospital expenses.

“It kind of reassures the choice that I made to be a coach,” Joseph Turner said. “The camaraderie — being around the kids and coaches — the way that the coaching staff, along with the coaches around the state, rally around you, it’s pretty unbelievable. It makes it very evident that I chose the right path.”

Godley Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Randy Brawner, who presented the check to Turner on Tuesday in front of several Wildcat athletes, said the support he’s witnessed for the Turners has been overwhelming and encouraging.

“I’m not seeing it from Joseph’s point of view, I’m just seeing it from the outside looking in, but it’s really overwhelming when you look at all of the support and all of the donations and all the help that everybody has offered that family,” Brawner said. “It makes me feel good and I know it makes Joseph feel good. We miss him. From a selfish point of view, for me, my coaches and my kids, we miss him being here. It’s kind of a tearful deal having him down here because we haven’t seen him in a month. We feel like we’re one big family.

“The support you see, in my opinion, is a testament to Joseph and Allison and the content of their character. They’re such good people that others want to reach out and help those two.”

Turner said the amount of support they’ve received from Godley, the community and everyone else who have reached out can’t be put into words.

“I really can’t explain the overwhelming support we’ve got,” Turner said. “Me and my wife have talked about it — there’s no words to describe it. It’s unbelievable the way they’ve rallied around us and Owen and just done everything they can to make our life as easy as possible in the situation we’re going through. They’ve done more than we could ever imagine.

“Just by the overwhelming support we have received, it’s definitely rejuvenated my feelings of good people in the world. You hear all the bad stuff and you think the world’s going bad, but the good people are out there waiting. And as soon as you need them, they’re right there on the front line fighting for you. That’s what Godley’s done, that’s what our school’s done, that’s what the coaches association, our churches, everybody that we’ve been in contact with have done. Everybody’s put their arms around us and picked us up, and that’s more than we can ever repay anyone for.”

Turner said the biggest thing Owen needs now is prayer and more prayer as he continues to battle the illness and undergoes chemotherapy.

“Right now, the most important thing we need is prayer,” he said. “The leukemia is actually under control, but he’s got zero white blood cells so he’s got zero immunity. So we’re trying to avoid infections or sickness. And then we’ve got all the side effects with the chemotherapy that we have to avoid. The leukemia is still there, but those are the big things we’ve got to dodge. Just praying he’ll come back and be able to handle all of those things is really the most important thing we need right now. And we need a lot of prayer, not only for him, but for [Allison and I] to stay strong for him and stay focused on the big picture. It is up and down. Some days, things are great, and some days you have a couple of bumps, but we just got to keep our eyes on the big picture at the end.”

Turner said they are waiting on Owen’s latest bone marrow tests to come back to determine when the next round of chemotherapy can begin.

“If there’s no leukemia in his bone marrow right now, we’ll start on Thursday or the following Thursday,” Turner said. “So within the next week or so, we’ll be on our second round of chemo. This treatment is eight days. After that, it’ll be a waiting game. The first two rounds of chemo, they want to hit it quick and hard and not let it have time to rejuvenate, and after that they’ll let him build his white blood cells back up. That could take anywhere from three to 12 weeks depending on the kid. That’s where we’re at now.”

On the night when Owen’s complications first came to light and they rushed to the emergency room, Turner said he was very thankful to the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne staff for the work they did.

“I just want them to know how impressed we were with the way Cleburne’s ER handled the situation,” he said. “They pretty much saved his life. When we went in there, they wasted no time and they got the care flight down there and they got him to Cook Children’s. We were probably within hours of him not being here, and not being able to go through the battle we’re going through now. I wanted to make sure that those people know we appreciate what they did and the quick work they did to identify what we had and to get the team set up once we got at Cook’s. The way they went about their business ended up being one of the main factors that saved his life.”

Turner is the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator for the football team and one of the head track coaches.

Godley ISD is holding a “Pennies for Owen” drive, which began Monday and will end March 7. Godley ISD will donate 15-20 percent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the rest of the money will go to the Turner family.

The Lady Wildcat basketball team, which faces Paradise in the bidistrict round of Class 2A playoffs at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Weatherford High School, will be wearing “Wishing Owen Well” T-shirts as their team playoff warm-up shirts. Those T-shirts are available for purchase at Godley ISD.

On Saturday, Godley United Methodist Church and First Baptist Church of Godley are holding a blood drive for Owen. Contact Staci Yarborough at 817-933-4185 for more information.

The Wildcat family is seeking support for the Turners in any way possible. Donations can be made at Godley ISD, the Wells Fargo Bank in Godley and online at www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/prs3/baby-owen.

For more information, contact Godley ISD at 817-389-2536.

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