COLONA, Illinois — Just two months shy of his second birthday, Parker Hopkins of Muscatine, Iowa was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia on August 13, 2016.
"It stops your whole world," said Justin Hopkins, who is the uncle of Parker, and brother to Parker's dad, Kiefer. Since the diagnosis the whole family has been questioning why, but there's no doubt, they're ready to fight.
"Really, what it comes down to is, you gotta' move on," said Hopkins, adding that family is taking Parker's treatment 1% at a time. "As long as he's getting better 1% every day, then we're okay with that," he said.
Parker is undergoing treatment in Iowa City.
"Parker's at the point where you can't go see him all the time because his immune system is so low, so that's hard because you want to be there, but you know the best thing for him is to kind of stay away and let the parents," said Hopkins, on a break from work at a baseball field in Colona, Illinois.
Recently, Parker and his parents, Kiefer and Jordan Hopkins, received a gift in the mail from Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who is a Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer survivor. Inside the care package, was an encouraging letter and a donation to Parker's family for $2,500.
"Kiefer and I are very close and he was ecstatic as soon as he found out," said Hopkins. "$2,500 dollars is a lot of money, and we're very grateful. We're at the very beginning of the battle and we got a long ways to go," he said.
Above all else, the gesture from one of baseball's biggest names, sheds light on pediatric cancer.
"The awareness is what's more important than anything. Somebody like Anthony Rizzo, to even recognize what's going on, is pretty awesome because it brings awareness to not only Parker's situation, but to cancer and leukemia in general," said Hopkins, who lives in Muscatine, Iowa.
To help, Hopkins encouraged people to go to BeTheMatch.org.
"Things like that are what's really going to help his fight," said Hopkins, adding that if Parker's chemotherapy doesn't work, a bone marrow transplant would be the next treatment option. He said since Rizzo's gift, support for his nephew has gone viral.
"People are coming out of the woodwork to help support this. That's really uplifting for my family to know that there's so many good people out there," said Hopkins.