Cubs World Series championship fuels little boy’s leukemia fight

MUSCATINE, Iowa — It was a scene their dad wasn't for one second taking for granted, Parker Hopkins, 2 playing with his brother, Maddux, 3 on a jungle gym, outside, for the first time in weeks.

"Oh it’s a blast, we love it, because Maddux usually comes up every other day or every day with my mom," said Kiefer Hopkins, father of Maddux and Parker Hopkins.

Maddux has been a little sick so he hasn't been able keep his routine - visiting his 16-month-younger brother, Parker at the Children's Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa.

Parker is three rounds of chemotherapy deep in a fight against Acute Myeloid Leukemia. A day before the boys played together at the park, Parker got the okay to go home through Thanksgiving, before starting his fourth and final round of chemotherapy.

Parker's battle has garnered support from the Muscatine community and beyond. In August, Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo wrote Parker a letter and gave the family a donation.

During the time since Rizzo's gift to Parker, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series Championship and Parker has been knocking his treatment out of the park.

"Parker's treatment has been going fantastic," said Kiefer, who brought the boys to play at Shady Creek Campground on November, 15, 2016.

Kiefer, who's a big Chicago Cubs fan, has been living with his youngest son at the Children's Hospital pretty much seven days a week since the diagnosis. His wife, Jordan is in nursing school. The family has soaked-in the support they've gotten since Parker's diagnosis.

"We walk onto that floor, and it was devastating just seeing the kids going through that same kind of stuff, but the longer we've been there, the more we've developed with their community," said Kiefer.

On the night the Cubs won the World Series, Kiefer was alone with a sleeping Parker next to him in the hospital room, but he still managed to celebrate with the nurses.

"It was definitely cool that with all the negatives that we had in our life this year that we had that one really big positive," said Kiefer, whose been an Anthony Rizzo fan for a while now, for more than just the baseball star's on-field performance.

"To watch them actually pull it out was just amazing and like I said, Rizzo, all the stuff he’s done - not just the Championship for the Chicago Cubs, but all the individual awards he's made along the way, on and off the field," said Kiefer.

For the next couple weeks, both Parker and Maddux, who was feeling better the day the brothers got a chance to play at the park,  will be able to enjoy life as brothers at home.

After Thanksgiving, Parker will go back to the Children's Hospital in Iowa City for a fourth and final round of chemotherapy, and back to the support system that has forever changed the lives of the Hopkins' family.

"With as bad as things are up there," said Kiefer, referring to the pediatric cancer unit, "a lot of people get the perception that that floor is just horrid, but the nurses make that floor fun," he said, adding that someday his family wants to start a charity that helps the families and kids going through pediatric cancer.

Kiefer praises all the support he and his family have received, including from the Muscatine community, volunteers from Dance Marathon, and fighters from Caged Aggression.

During the most recent round of treatment, the Hopkins family found out Parker would not need a bone marrow transplant. However, if he would have, Maddux was a 100% match. The transplant close-call continues to fuel the Hopkins' family wish that people go to BeTheMatch.org.