When I first met 13-year-old Collin Griffin last May, he was diagnosed with cancer and had already lost 35 pounds from early chemotherapy treatments.
On Monday, I stopped by to see my friend who has now lost 70 pounds. While Collin still faces 24 more weeks of chemo, he said that this Thanksgiving brings him renewed hope, perspective and determination.
"It's definitely a fight," said Griffen, who has missed his 8th grade year at Tecumseh. He credits his parents, siblings and classmates for giving him love and support.
"You would not wish this on anyone," said Collin's mother, Erin."We spent 90 percent of the summer in the hospital."
Griffen endured 30 weeks of chemo and radiation after doctors diagnosed him with stage 4 Rhabdomyosarcoma. The cancer started behind his eye, then spread to his lymph nodes and eventually to other parts of his body.
"Until this happened to me, I can say there were things I was unappreciative of, things I took for granted," Griffen said. "It's kind of hard to say this; but I'm thankful to be here. I'm sitting down with you right now. I'm walking, breathing, I'm alive."
Through all these months of treatment, Collin has been more worried about what cancer is doing to his family, than what it was doing to his own body. But, there is no denying these last six months have been tough.
"There's always the fear of, what if it comes back? I try not to think about that," Griffen said.
I asked Collin what he wants people to remember most about his journey and what he hopes others will find most important this Thanksgiving.
"Tell your family you love them through your life," said Griffen. "No matter what happens between you and your family, that's who you will have in the end. That's who will be there no matter what."
Collin Griffen is a boy who is wise beyond his years.