TOLEDO (13abc Action News) - A big surprise for a local boy fighting cancer. Robby Spanbauer got a visit at school that he and his friends won't soon forget. The visit was from members of a motorcycle club called The Punishers. They heard Robby's story and knew they wanted to be part of his surprise.
The Punishers is a law-enforcement based bike club, and the group's main mission is to help others. It's made up of police officers, firefighters, other first responders and anyone who shares their beliefs.
Jean Schoen helped make today's visit happen. She is the founder and President of Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio, a non-profit dedicated to helping cancer patients,"Robby is on the verge of starting a very aggressive round of treatment that will keep him in the hospital for quite awhile, so we wanted to do something special for him."
Today Robby was able to forget about that for a brief moment.
He celebrated his birthday at Fallen Timbers Middle School with family, friends,classmates and complete strangers. His new friends work to spread good cheer year-round. Daniel Bushey is the President of the local chapter of The Punishers, "I became an officer to help people. This is just one way I can do that. We all had a wonderful time with Robby today, we made him the man of the hour."
Jean says today's visit was bittersweet, "It makes me happy that we can help make him happy and that he gets to be a kid for the day. However, it also makes me sad knowing what's ahead for him, and what he and his family are having to go through."
Bushey says it's hard to imagine what Robby has been through in his short life, "I read a list of what treatments he has to have an its heartbreaking. He's just a kid. Only 12-years-old today, it's horrible what he has to go through. I have two young daughters and I can't imagine what his family is going through."
Robby and his family have been through a lot since he was first diagnosed with a form of kidney cancer nearly two years ago. He's had five surgeries as well as radiation and chemotherapy treatments.
His mom Lisa says he's starting a new round of treatment that will have him in and out of the hospital during the holidays, "It's 8-9 months of chemo, it is a very aggressive treatment with lots of side effects. It will also affect his bone marrow. He's really hoping he can be home at least for Christmas."
Lisa is a cancer survivor herself, but she says watching this is far more painful than what she went through, "It puts everything in perspective when it comes to what's important. It is so difficult watching your child go through this. You feel helpless, you can't stop it and you can't make it better. We just have to try to help him through it."
Now Robby has a new group of friends with him on the front lines of this fight Members of The Punishers have offered to come visit Robby in the hospital as he continues his treatment. They even talked to him about riding their motorcycles to see them once the weather improves.
If people would like to learn more about The Punishers or all the programs of Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio, we've posted links.