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Story of Survival

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Story of Survival
By: Wendy Ray

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, they're all painful treatments no one should have to go through. But one Heartland teenager has been through all of them, and now is telling his story of survival. It's been a rough few months for 17 year old Anthony Bechelli. In December, doctors told him he had a brain tumor.

Anthony loves to play the drums. It's safe to say band is his favorite subject at Frankfort Community High School. But just a few months ago, Anthony had to take time off from the band, and every other subject for that matter.

"I got up, got real dizzy, everything crossed," Anthony says. "I crawled on the ground all the way to the bathroom." Anthony was rushed to the hospital, and then flown to St. Louis. Doctors told him he had a brain tumor. "They said it was about four inches long. They said I could of had it the time I was born, or three weeks prior," he says.

The tumor was treatable and easy to get rid of. A scar on the back of his head is a constant reminder of where doctors took it out. But the chemotherapy and radiation that followed surgery wasn't easy for Anthony. "You're sick a lot, you don't eat a lot, you're weak, you're tired, you sleep constantly," Anthony says.

Anthony's finished with his first six weeks of treatment. Now, he's recuperating and getting ready for an eight week round of chemotherapy. It's going to be tough, but Anthony says, he'll get through it. "You kind of think of yourself as a different person," he says. "You feel like you've overcome something greater than you can possibly think of. Now there's nothing to be afraid of."

Even though he missed some school during his treatments, he's still on track with his classes. It's been a tough time for Anthony and his family. Trips back and forth to St. Louis have been expensive. Here's information on how you can help.

"Dinner with Anthony"
Saturday, March 29th
First Christian Church Family Life Center
West Frankfort
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 a person.

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