Joseph Connar Powers arrived November 21, 1993. From the first day Joey was born we knew he had a flare for the dramatic, arriving 2 weeks premature. He spent 4 days in the Neo-Natal ICU, with under developed lungs. Our entire family anticipated the day we could bring home our new boy. Joey was the first male Grandchild, born into the Clothier side of the family (a family of 5 daughters). The first boy was a big deal. Joey was the sixth child on the Powers side, following five cousins, four of them boys. Joey was the little tag along. Joey had a smile that would warm up any room. He had a personality that could make anyone laugh (except for a teacher of two). As much as we wanted Joey to be a serious student, he always had other plans. The self-appointed "class clown". Joey loved competition. He played Pop Warner Football from the age of 11 until he made the Cardinal Mooney Freshmen team. He played Suncoast Basketball until he decided he was to short to play. In seventh grade, we took him kicking and screaming to a lacrosse practice for the Lakewood Ranch Lightning. While Joey loved to play football, he quickly developed a passion for lacrosse from that first practice till the day he passed away. A lacrosse penny was part of his daily wardrobe. June 21st 2010 was the day our lives changed forever. Joey had spent the last week doing mission work. Joey and his cousins were in Ohio repairing the homes of the elderly. We picked him up from the airport and watched as he walked down the hallway from the plane. Joey didn't look his usual upbeat self. He was covered with purple spots. His gums were bleeding from where he was hit in the mouth with a frisbee four days earlier and he couldn't stop bleeding. We took him to our pediatrician the next morning and by this time Joey was in tremendous pain. We were sent for blood work down the street to figure out the problem. As Joey and I sat in a full room, waiting for our name to be called, an elderly husband in a wheel chair and wife were struggling to open the heavy spring-loaded door. Everyone in that room, including myself, sat there not paying attention to the couple's struggles. I noticed Joey get up out of his seat, in obvious pain, and walk across the room to help the couple with the door. He then smiled to them as they said, "thank you". Joey was officially diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on June 24, 2010. We spent the next 2 weeks in the hospital trying to wrap our heads around this whole nightmare. I know Joey knew he was sick, but I don't think he understood the realities of his sickness. The talk of cancer was never really discussed in front of him, at first. The doctors always referred to his illness as ALL. The first time Joey heard the word "cancer" it took him by surprise. We both started to cry a little as the doctor explained to him what ALL was and how it was going to affect him. I thought he was crying because of his horrible illness. The only thing Joey said after this news was, "Doc you can't tell my Mom", that was his only concern, his Mother. Even through weekly spinal taps and bone marrow draws, Joey never complained, lost his smile, nor his sense of humor. We had spent so much time in the hospital Joey was on a first name basis with all the nurses on the floor. They had all grown very fond of him. Over the next several months, we were in and out of the hospital every other week for out-patient chemo therapy and then returning home to be sick for the rest of the night. On our second stay at the hospital a nurse mentioned that Joey was eligible for "Make A Wish". She went on to talk about all the cool things that kids with cancer had gotten as their "Wish". Complete gaming consoles for their rooms, trips to Hawaii, trips to New York and lots of other great things. We always joked with Joey about taking us to Hawaii or some other great family vacation. We kicked around a lot of ideas. Finally, Joey said "I know what I want to do with my wish. I want to have a party. A party to raise money for all the families on the Seventh floor at All Children's Hospital, who are going through what we are going through". On November 20, 2010, Joseph Connar Powers lost his battle with cancer, just one day before his 17th birthday, after being in the ICU at All Children's Hospital for 3 weeks. Joey never got to make his "Wish" come true. In light of Joey's struggle, a public charity, Joey Powers Leukemia Project, was established in Joey's honor to help families who are going through the horrible experiences of childhood leukemia.
IT IS OUR MISSION TO MAKE JOEY'S WISH COME TRUE
- Jim Powers