Miranda & Billy Henry, Chastity & Mason Hinshaw.

Centerville showed support for two strong moms and their two special sons at the Aug. 30 Centerville Christian Church blood drive honoring leukemia survivors Billy Henry and Mason Hinshaw.
The blood drive marked the beginning of Community Blood Center’s September Childhood Cancer Awareness Month campaign. It totaled 51 donors, including 42 donations and eight first-time donors for 95% of collection goal.
Billy and Mason are three weeks into the new school year at Centerville High School, both with high hopes of having a normal year, uninterrupted by setbacks, treatment, or surgeries.
Billy was excused from JV football practice and Mason did homework on his laptop so they could join family members at the blood drive. Their moms, Miranda Henry and Chastity Hinshaw, donated side by side.
“We’re so thankful,” said Chastity. “Centerville may seem like a small town, but they have big hearts.”
The Village Forager was one of the local businesses that donated door prizes for the blood drive. They supported Mason by selling “Mason Jars” to help with his medical expenses.
Billy wore his Bulldogs football jersey to the blood drive and plans to wear CBC’s “I Give for the Kids” Childhood Cancer Awareness socks when he dresses for Friday night’s varsity game.
“We get emotional every game,” said Billy’s dad Bill Jr. who was an all-state linebacker at Richmond High School. “He’s got the willpower. We tell him he just has to keep working at it.”
Billy is a 16-year-old sophomore and Mason is 17-year-old senior. Until recently, their return to school this fall was very much in doubt.
Mason was diagnosed with leukemia at age 13. He missed much of his high school years when he relapsed in 2020 after a year of treatment, and a second relapse in 2021 after a stem cell transplant. In the past four years he received 79 blood product transfusions.
He went back to school last spring, competed in summer band competitions, and performs with the football pep band. “He really pushed through,” said Chastity.
“I feel like it helps,” Mason said about the blood drive. “It brings some kind of light to it. That’s what blood drives are for, to help a little bit.”
Billy has lived with blood cancer since he was a toddler. He finished chemo in 2012 and seemed to be successfully in remission.
Miranda, who is now a registered nurse, noticed a mass behind his left ear. In February he underwent surgery to remove the tumor and the mastoid inner ear bone. His goal was to again play football.
“The support when he had his surgery, when they sent that video, that was special,” said Miranda. “My friend Colson got everybody on the team together,” said Billy as he played the video of his teammates shouting, “We love you, Billy!”
“I’m super excited,” said Billy. “I’m one in 10 million.” That was the odds of the tumor occurring in the mastoid bone where it was easier to see. “It was a big advantage because we caught it,” said Miranda.
Both boys accept the uncertainties that remain with cancer survivors. “I’m fine with it,” said Mason. “What else are your choices to do? Keep at it and do it.”
— Article and photo submitted by the Community Blood Center, Dayton, Ohio.

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