But his family could use financial assistance

by: JOHN DENNY - Its been a rough fall for Milwaukie High School junior Aaron Walston and his family. Walston, pictured with his father Merit Walker, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in August and missed most of the 2013 high school football season.Aaron Walston, the Milwaukie High School quarterback who missed most of the 2013 football season after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer in late August, is on the mend and “hopefully cured,” according to his father, Merit Walker.

Walston had radiation treatment on Nov. 12 and was back in school on Nov. 20, after a week away.

“Hopefully this was Aaron’s first and last radiation treatment,” Walker said in a telephone conversation last week. “He had a body scan yesterday [on Nov. 19] and we’re still waiting results. Hopefully they got all the cancer.”

Walston has been a frequent visitor to doctors’ offices and hospitals since being diagnosed with cancer in August. He has two four-inch scars in his neck from surgeries to remove cancerous lymph nodes and his thyroid. And he’ll have to take thyroid medications the rest of his life.

Otherwise, Walker says his son feels fine and can live a normal life, if the body scan comes out clear, as the doctors expect.

Walston, a junior, talked with Milwaukie coach Scott Bays last week about turning out for basketball, and he says he’s looking forward to next football season.

But the recent radiation was tough on Walston and his family. Walston was in isolation for two days at Oregon Health & Science University following the radiation treatment because “he was radioactive,” Walker said.

And when Walston got home, family members were advised to keep their distance, because of radiation.

“Yesterday [Nov. 19] we got the all clear,” Walker said. “People can be around him, if they stay three to six feet back. Except for pregnant people, like our two daughters [Walston’s sisters Stepheny and Mindy]. They still have to keep their distance.”

Dealing with dozens of doctors’ appointments over the past month has also taken a financial toll on Walston’s family, which has struggled to make ends meet on the financial end.

“Insurance has covered most of the medical bills,” Walker said. “But it doesn’t cover all of the lost time from work. My wife and I both work and, with all of the visits to doctors offices and the hospital, we’ve missed a lot of work.”

An account has been set up with U.S. Bank, where the community can lend financial support to the Walston and his family. Tax deductible contributions can be made at any local branch of U.S. Bank, by patrons indicating that they would like to donate to the Aaron Walston account.