Casey Wheeler grew up in Morgan where he gained many friends. Those friends as well as others he and his family have gained have rallied to support him during a battle with cancer.
In May, 2011, Wheeler was diagnosed with Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma. Just three days after receiving that diagnosis, he underwent surgery at University of Utah to remove the cancerous brain tumor.
A month after the surgery, Wheeler began a regiment of chemotherapy and radiation for six weeks. At that time he was able to stop radiation and cut back to a maintenance dose of chemotherapy. His health was stabilized until in February of this year when tests showed tumors again.
On March 7, Wheeler underwent a second operation to remove brain tumors. Of the three tumors he had during that surgery, the doctors were successfully able to remove two of them. A portion of the third was left to avoid any major damage to his brain that could cause neurological trauma. Within a month the tumor doubled in size and it was evident the chemotherapy he was on would not work.
The doctors changed his medication to another drug different from chemotherapy. This week he received great news- the six weeks of this new medication have been successful in fighting this tumor. He will continue with this medication.
“I just wanted to give my wife the biggest hug,” Wheeler said of hearing the news. He is happy anytime he receives news that means he has more time with his family, which he says brings him the greatest happiness in life.
Seven years ago Wheeler married his wife Angie, a women his mother Robyn Wheeler describes as upbeat and positive like Casey. The couple have been working through this battle together with resilient attitudes considering the ups and downs of this overwhelming struggle. Family and friends find comfort from this pair, who continually looks at the positive side of things.
The couple have two adorable children who Wheeler is eager to spend more time with including Max, 4, and his little sister Tenley, 2. Wheeler jokes that he is happy they take their good looks from their mother.
Wheeler has the deep love that all fathers have for their children along with the intensity that extreme circumstances like these bring. He can speak calmly and methodically about medication, treatments, and surgeries; however he easily gets choked up when talking about his family and friends.
Wheeler feels like Morgan is home and “such a great place,” but fortunately he has also found a special neighborhood in Syracuse where he has felt a huge amount of love and support. Wheeler says he feels the love of his Heavenly Father often through the acts of others around him.
Wheeler often finds himself in tears when thinking about all of the service his family receives. It helps him stay focused. He knows of others in similar situations that get angry and upset by their problems but he feels that would take too much energy. “I’d rather spend time doing things for others,” Wheeler explains.
“He is the most positive, up-beat person,” long time neighbor Sandy Phillips-Jones said of Casey.
“He’s even said ‘it’s a blessing in my life.’ Who would say that?” Robyn Wheeler explained of her son’s outlook on life.
Wheeler talks about the goodness of God and the blessing he has been given rather than any problems he is facing. He feels that God has blessed him to be able to continue to work full time, only taking off a couple of weeks after each surgery. He knows he is blessed to have friends, neighbors and family who support him.
A 5K has been planned to help raise money for Wheeler, as well as a woman in his neighborhood who is also battling cancer.
Wheeler gushes about what an amazing woman Kathy Wilson is and says he really looks up to her. The 5K is geared to individuals as well as families and will be held on Saturday, June 15 at 9 a.m.
The race will take place at Jensen Nature Park, 3176 S Bluff Road, in Syracuse. Sign up online at http://kickincanceroutfamily5k.blogspot.com.
“We’re so grateful for people that have put time and effort into this,” Wheeler said of the 5K. He plans to run a portion but realizes he will probably have to walk most of it. While his stamina may not be what he would like, he expects to be able to push a stroller while Angie pushes another allowing their whole family to participate.
If you can’t attend the run, an account is set up at America First Credit union in the name of Casey Wheeler donation fund and at First Bank in Mountain Green and Morgan.