Family Fights Cancer Together

Posted at: 07/26/2013 5:29 PM
Updated at: 07/26/2013 6:16 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Cancer impacts millions of people across the country, but for one Austin family, the terrible disease just won't seem to leave them alone.

In 2011, Dick Buechner was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a form of blood cancer that proves fatal in nearly two-thirds of cases.

“I'm glad I didn't know that,” Buechner said laughing.

And while he still bears the marks from nearly nine months of intensive chemo therapy, his cancer is now in remission and he said he’s feeling strong.

“I’m glued together, but hey, I’m on the golf course most every day,” Buechner said with a smile.

But another member of his family is still in the fight.

Buechner’s great-grandson Graham, who will celebrate his first birthday on Monday, was born with a rare form of eye cancer and has undergone six months of aggressive chemo therapy to try and contain the cancer to his right eye.

“The poor little guy knows the inside of a hospital,” Buechner said. “He's just a good little trooper."

And the outlook is good.

Doctors have reduced the size of both tumors that were growing in his eye, and they say that with more treatment he could soon be completely cured.

“Doctors seem to have a handle on it,” Buechner said. “They said with another month or so they expect that he'll get sight back in the eye."

His great-grandparents said that other than the hospital visits and not being able to play freely with other kids for fear of illness, little Graham is doing just fine.

“He was born with it so he doesn't know anything different with his eye,” said Dick’s wife Jeannine, who is also a cancer survivor, beating breast cancer in 2001. “He's still a happy little guy."

Dick Buechner gave his great-grandson a pair of boxing gloves that we're given to him when he was diagnosed, and he said they remind them both to keep fighting.

“We’re thankful for every day,” Buechner said. “We're happy for our family."

Both Dick and little Graham will be honored at Saturday’s Relay for Life event, which will be held at the Austin bandshell.