Remembering A Hometown Hero

Pictured: Cody Byrnes.

Pictured: Cody Byrnes.

 

DEAR EDITOR:

Cody Byrnes, 21, was an amazing and special son. His precious life was cut short on Dec. 18, 2014 after battling two different cancers for six years. He left his mark in this world and he is a hero to so many, especially me, his mom.

When he was in 10th grade, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Life as we knew it stopped and changed forever. He started chemotherapy right away but it was quickly determined that he needed a stem cell transplant in order to have any chance at remission. More chemotherapy was added as well as radiation to prepare his body for the transplant. He suffered many serious complications and infections but he managed to stay strong and pull through.

He completed high school with tutors at home and was able to graduate with his peers in 2011. He attended school events whenever he felt up to it and kept in touch with his friends. He loved being on the HSE soccer field and supporting the team.

Cody loved to snowboard, ride his road bike and to play poker. He got an internship with the New York Islanders and started college at Dowling that September. He was still dealing with many long term effects from his treatment but he never let that stop him. He began racing RC cars at Long Island Raceway and did very well. He continued with the internship and was focusing on recovering.

Unfortunately in June, 2013 he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive soft tissue cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma. We knew the road was tough and that there was no cure. He started radiation and intense chemotherapy once again and because of his prior illness, his body was having difficulty responding. He received clear scans for around six months and then the cancer returned.

We were running out of options but Cody still fought on. We continued traveling back and forth to NYC for his team of doctors and hoped and prayed for a cure. The cancer had returned and was in his lung and then his brain. Cody never gave up and continued to try to enjoy his life when he felt able to. He loved being at home with his dogs and working on his salt water fish tank.

Unfortunately, the cancer took over and Cody lost the battle. My heart is broken. He touched all those that he came into contact with and he left a huge smile with them. His only brother, Casey, also an HSE graduate, is in the U.S. Army and we both will miss Cody more than words could ever say. Cody is clearly a hometown hero and will never be forgotten.

 

MARY BYRNES

Melville