May 30, 2019 - Atlanta - Logan Droke and his father, Randall, and step mother, Veronique, spend some time together in his hospital room. Logan, 18, from Canton, facing his fourth battle with leukemia at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, is set to graduate from Creekview High School on Friday. Firefighters in two departments are rallying behind the teenager by raising money to help pay for treatments. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com

Senior battling cancer wants to take part in graduation

Two fire departments have come together to help a family whose son is facing his fourth battle with cancer.

Firefighters in Cobb and Cherokee counties are standing behind the family of Logan Droke, 17, a Canton teenager hospitalized at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. Logan, who will graduate Friday from Creekview High School in Cherokee County, has been visited by a steady stream of firefighters and police officers dropping by to provide words of encouragement.

Brady Cornelison, a Cherokee County firefighter who works with Logan’s father, Randall Droke, said department employees have made contributions so the family has convenient meals and set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for medical expenses related to Logan’s treatment.

“Our intention is to lighten the Drokes’ burden as much as we can,” Cornelison said.

May 30, 2019 - Atlanta - Logan Droke gets a look at his high school diploma from Lori Pirtle, the hospital’s educational advocate for his unit. Pirtle has been working with Logan since he was 9 years old. Logan, 18, from Canton, facing his fourth battle with leukemia at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, is set to graduate from Creekview High School on Friday. Firefighters in two departments are rallying behind the teenager by raising money to help pay for treatments. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services hosted the Metro Atlanta Firefighters Conference last week where they sold wallets that were handmade by the Drokes to help with medical expenses. Cornelison said 160 wallets were sold, bringing in more than $3,200 for the family.

Tom Hancock, a Cobb firefighter whose wife is a teacher at Creekview, said his agency also made an “encouraging video” it shared with the teen and his family. Firefighters are also planning to attend Logan’s May 31 graduation at First Baptist Church of Woodstock to celebrate his milestone.

“He’s just a great kid who’s been through a lot,” Hancock said. “He’s got a great attitude.”

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Logan was first diagnosed with leukemia at age 9. The cancer went into remission and returned twice before coming back last summer. His father said Logan’s situation is “changing constantly.” The family wants to fly to Texas so the teen can begin treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center, but inflammation in his liver has prevented him from making the trip.

Doctors at Scottish Rite have consulted with their counterparts at MD Anderson, and Randall Droke said his son has started a course of treatment that should get him healthy enough to travel. Droke said his son is hoping he’ll have the strength to attend his graduation ceremony Friday, even if he’s escorted across stage in a wheelchair.

“Him being there and having a presence is what he wants,” Droke said.

May 30, 2019 - Atlanta - Randall Droke spends some time with his son, Logan, in his hospital room. Logan, 18, from Canton, facing his fourth battle with leukemia at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, is set to graduate from Creekview High School on Friday. Firefighters in two departments are rallying behind the teenager by raising money to help pay for treatments. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Droke said his family has been overwhelmed by the support he’s received from his fellow public servants and others in the community. The firefighting profession is a “huge family” that doesn’t hesitate to come together for one of its brothers or sisters, he said.

Droke also said Logan has had a positive influence on his classmates. One of his friends shared a note with Logan’s parents, informing them their son encouraged him to pursue his love of drawing. That teen told the Drokes that Logan’s encouragement gave him the boost of self-confidence he needed.

“He’s a super caring, loving, wonderful person,” Droke said of his son.

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