Patrick Chance’s big grin is burned into his grandmother’s memory.
“He was known for that smile,” said Kris Gordon, of Evans. “He had the most wonderful smile and dimples. ... He was, despite the circumstances, to use it a lot. It just, really, it was like getting gold.”
Patrick, son of native Augustans Erin and Stephen Chance, now living in Atlanta, fought neuroblastoma since he was three. He succumbed to the disease on Jan. 9, his ninth birthday.
“I think we all felt a great peace that it was his birthday,” Gordon said. “It means every year on Jan. 9, we get to celebrate his life.”
Patrick’s funeral, which about 1,500 people attended, was held in Atlanta on Saturday.
Gordon organized an annual plant sale dubbed Patrick’s Paperwhites to benefit Press On to CURE Childhood Cancer. The fund was established in 2006 by the Chances, who now are partnered with the family of Brennan Simkins. The Press On to CURE Childhood Cancer Fund invests in medical research focused on neuroblastoma and acute myeloid leukemia, two deadly pediatric cancers.
“I am so committed to Press On for a CURE to Childhood Cancer, we have to find more nontoxic treatments,” Gordon said. “In the process of trying to cure our children, we are also causing lifelong disabilities or, at the worst case, another cancer.”
Gordon said Patrick fought his cancer bravely with an “indominable spirit” and dry wit. When he wasn’t in one of several hospitals undergoing one of the many treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplant and clinical trials, Patrick was outside exploring.
Patrick loved the mountains, fishing, hunting and building with Legos.
“He loved all things that little boys love,” Gordon said.
When Patrick underwent treatment in New York, a group a firefighters from the Nanuet Fire Department in Rockland County, N.Y., befriended him. He was inducted as the youngest member of the department
“He’s an inspiration to others,” Gordon said. “That’s one reason why so many people connected with him. Because he could have a good time and flash that smile when others would probably have pulled the covers up over their heads.”
Patrick is survived by his parents; two sisters, Madison, 10, and Anna, 6; grandparents, Gordon and her husband, Don, Anne Chance and Ernie and Linda Reynolds; and many other extended family members.
Donations to Press On to CURE Childhood Cancer can be made at www.curechildhoodcancer.org or by mail to: 1117 Perimeter Center West, Suite N-402, Atlanta, GA 30338.