Firefighters will walk at graduation for teen cancer patient

Doctors have told a 17-year-old graduate that he should not attend his graduation ceremony tonight — so Cherokee County firefighters will walk in his place.

Logan Droke of Canton is engaged in his fourth battle with leukemia, but had hoped he would be able to attend tonight's 8 p.m. ceremony for Creekview High in Cherokee County at First Baptist Church of Woodstock. Doctors have advised against the idea, according to Randall Droke, Logan's father, who added the teen "realizes he's not strong enough."

“He does not feel like he has the energy to do it,” Randall Droke said. “He really wanted to, but the last couple of days have been questionable.”

That doesn't mean the teen's presence will not be felt at the celebration. Droke, who is a Cherokee County firefighter, said his co-workers from Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services will take the stage in his son's honor. They will be joined by their counterparts from Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services and police officers, Randall Droke said.

Cherokee County fire 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. As of Friday, more than $9,600 has been donated to the GoFundMe page.

“Our intention is to lighten the Drokes’ burden as much as we can,” said Brady Cornelison, Randall Droke’s co-worker.

The firefighting community has come together for the Droke family since leukemia reemerged in Logan's body. The teen has acute lymphoblastic leukemia and is hospitalized at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

Logan was first diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body's blood-forming tissues, 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 he has been too ill to make 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. Once he's well enough, Droke said his son is hoping to attend Chattahoochee Technical College to obtain his associate's degree and hopes to move ahead to a four-year institution to get his bachelor's degree.

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. Logan has also had a positive impact on his classmates, even encouraging one of his friends to pursue his love of drawing.

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

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