By Mark Carpenter –
One of the most special things about Adams County is how a community reacts when one of their own is in need. That took place once again in recent weeks and to make it even more special, it was spearheaded by a group of high school student/athletes.
It has been a tough go recently for eight-year old Sawyer Allen, a student at North Adams Elementary. When teachers and staff noticed him limping at school, his family took him to see a doctor and he was eventually diagnosed with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a childhood condition that affects the hip, where the thighbone and pelvis meet in a ball-and-socket joint. The blood supply to the ball part of the hip joint is temporarily interrupted and without that blood flow, the bone begins to die and is susceptible to break more easily.
The solution that doctors came up with for Sawyer was surgery followed by a body cast and then another surgery six weeks later followed by a cast that stretched from his legs all the way up to the top of his chest, which of course also confined him to a wheelchair, wearing the casts for 12 weeks total.
Jo Davis, who is the wife of North Adams varsity girls basketball coach Rob Davis, often volunteers at NAES and she, along with the members of the Lady Devils high school basketball program, came up with the idea of selling t-shirts to assist Sawyer’s family with expenses. Young Sawyer is a big fan of superheroes so the shirts had the Superman emblem on the front and #SawyerStrong on the back. The idea snowballed and hundreds of shirts were sold, enough to raise $800 for the family.
During the Nov. 17 SHAC Girls Preview at North Adams, a check presentation was made to Sawyer (see above photo), and very unselfishly, Sawyer had decided that he would donate the money to Children’s Hospital. All of the North Adams players and coaches and many fans were decked out in the #SawyerStrong shirts at the Preview, showing their support for a community member in need.
“Sawyer is a pretty special kid going through all that he’s been through,” said Coach Davis. “He’s always got a smile on his face and he’s the real superhero.”
“The community is great around here and we try to teach our girls that when you have a chance to go out and help somebody, you do it. It’s more than just basketball, but there’s more to life than basketball and when you can come together and do something like this for an eight-year old or an elderly person, it’s humbling.”
“The girls went out to visit him after school today,” Davis continued. “He knows them all by name and it put a big smile on his face. It was great to see him out at the Preview Night.”
For now, the story has a happy ending. On Monday, Nov. 20, Sawyer had the cast removed and everyone wishes him a speedy and full recovery.