David Kanke, a.k.a. Lil’ D, celebrated his seventh birthday Saturday with a helicopter ride by Tulsa Lifeflight.
Pilots Randy Warren, Gayland Estep and Jamie Edwards landed their helicopter in Wynona at 2 p.m. Saturday to the amazement of Lil’ D and his friends. Paul Blackstone of the Hominy EMS coordinated the helicopter landing and traffic control.
Later that afternoon, a second helicopter from Air Evac flew in to honor the youngster.
In preparation for such an extraordinary event, Lil’ D dressed in his honorary Pawhuska Police Department uniform.
Shortly before he boarded the helicopter for a tour around Wynona, Lifeflight pilot Warren presented Lil’ D with a Lifeflight patch.
Lil’ D’s two-tiered, one-of-a-kind birthday cake featured Police, Fire, EMS and Lifeflight emblems. To the delight of all, the cake was delivered by Spiderman!
Mom Kelly Kanke said, “Lil’ D’s cake was created by ‘Cakes Against Cancer via Sugar Rush from Dewey.’”
Sandy Blevins of Bristow was a special guest at Lil’ D’s party. Grandmother Ginger Beaver calls Blevins “Their angel.” Blevins said she ‘adopted’ Lil’ D almost three years ago, shortly after he was diagnosed with the rare cancer called ganglionueroblastoma. As a member of Oklahoma’s Make a Wish Foundation, Blevins was responsible for the family’s trip to Disney World.
Lil’ D’s birthday celebration continued Sunday afternoon when a Ponca City group called “The Guardians of the Ribbon” drove to his Wynona home in their pink fire truck.
On April 2, Lil’ D will travel to Oklahoma City for his 11th surgery. Lil’ D has Horner’s syndrome which causes droopiness and is interfering with his vision. The surgery is to correct his right eye.
Mom Kelly remarked, “Right now David’s cancer prognosis is stable but unknown. We have been in contact with Dr. Shakeel Modak from Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York about obtaining a second opinion and should hear from him this week.”
Kelly added, “David has been diagnosed with severe long-term and short-term memory loss, making learning extremely difficult. In January, we discovered the cancer caused his eyes to stop growing five years too soon. This resulted in glasses and the need for a stronger prescription every nine months.”
Kelly said her family appreciates prayers for her strong little man. Updates and pictures of Lil’ D’s birthday bash are available on his Facebook page at Prayer-chain-for-Lil-d-David-Kanke. Cards may be sent to Lil’ D Kanke, PO Box 445, Wynona, Ok, 74084. Anyone wishing to help this family defray mounting medical and travel expenses may donate directly to American Heritage Bank in Pawhuska to the David Lee Curry benefit fund. Lil’ D was adopted by his grandparents following the unexpected death of his mother.