NMB rallies around student diagnosed with leukemia

Dalton2North Myrtle Beach High School students and faculty have banded together in support of fellow student and athlete Dalton Socrates.

The NMBHS sophomore baseball player was diagnosed on January 9th of this year with leukemia B-All, the most common type of leukemia in children 0-19 years of age. He immediately began chemotherapy, blood transfusions, weekly spinal injections, and marrow biopsies. Socrates spent several weeks at MUSC before returning home.

When he was initially diagnosed, “The doctors said that about 90% of his blood had leukemia, but through various methods, they were able to get that down to zero,” said Socrates’ mother Sue. “But Johns Hopkins University has a special microscope that they use and they were able to detect trace amounts, so he is not really in remission.”

Socrates is currently at MUSC again undergoing clinical trials in an attempt to remove those trace amounts. “He’s having a very tough week. He’s feeling the side effects from the clinical trials. His spirits are good. In another month there will be another test to determine if this is working, and we are hoping that we will be able to achieve full remission. The doctors are very optimistic,” said his mother.

When the administration at NMBHS heard about Socrates situation, they decided to help.

Principal Trevor Strawderman said students approached him about possibly producing a video for Socrates. They in turn approached digital arts instructor and Teacher of Year award winner Lesley Etherson about producing the video. She agreed and the process was put into place. “We wanted to rally to show him that we’re thinking of him and that we have his back. No one has forgotten that he is going through this fight, and we are here with him,” said Strawderman.

“We’ve actually made two videos, one with the baseball team that we sent to him to cheer him up and then we’ve made one with the whole school,” said Etherson. “We had signups for people to volunteer and then everybody wore orange on the day of the shoot, because that’s the color of leukemia awareness.”

Not everyone was comfortable being in front of the camera, so Etherson figured out a way to get those students involved as well. “We had some shots with large groups, like our roller coaster shot.”

When asked about the impact the video might have, Strawderman emphasized that the idea was to make sure Socrates knew that, “He is not alone. No one has forgotten about Dalton, and we are going to continue to keep thinking about Dalton, and praying for him and his family. We hope that it gives him a positive spirit to keep fighting. “

Etherson reiterated, “We have this philosophy that no Chief fights alone, so that no matter what happens to you, it’s good to know that you’ve got support at your school. “

Socrates began to notice an indication that his health was impaired in early December of 2013 while going through simple workouts in preparation for the upcoming high school baseball season. A feeling of fatigue turned into severe back pains that led the teen to visit his athletic trainer who referred him to a doctor.

Even after Socrates is able to return home with full remission, he still faces up to 3 years of treatments and transfusions. He’ll face a weekly chemo treatment while in maintenance mode. If full remission isn’t achieved with the clinical trials, then the next step would be a bone marrow transplant.

Those videos help though. “He’s extremely moved. It’s amazing how this kind of vehicle can make someone feel great about themselves, even when they feel terrible,” said his mother.

A fundraiser is being held in Socrates honor Wednesday night at Sticky Fingers in North Myrtle Beach. Advance tickets are required. Contact North Myrtle Beach High School for more details.

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