Claymons: ‘We will not give up’ | VailDaily.com

Claymons: ‘We will not give up’

Sarah Mausolf
smausolf@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

Special to the DailyAndrew Claymon

EDWARDS, Colorado – Andrew Claymon continues to fight for his life in Nebraska, parents Mike and Joni Claymon said Thursday afternoon.

Andrew, a 16-year-old from Edwards, has been grappling with a rare form of cancer called chordoma. His parents have been overseeing his hospice care.

“We have hope until his last breath,” Mike Claymon said. “And there is always hope. Even with his deteriorated condition, we will not give up.”

Andrew has chosen to spend the past few weeks at his beloved Merritt Reservoir in Nebraska, where, up until about a week ago, he felt good enough to do some fishing. Friends and family members have made frequent visits.

Claymon discovered he had cancer on New Year’s Day 2009. A basketball player for Battle Mountain High School, where he is currently between his sophomore and junior years, Claymon he had been complaining about weakness in his arm just before the diagnosis. While preparing for a deer hunting trip, he found he could no longer pull back his bow.

Doctors at the Vail Valley Medical Center discovered Claymon had a tumor in his spine and rushed him to the Children’s Hospital in Denver. Tests showed his cancer had spread to other parts of his body including his lungs. He embarked on a rigorous treatment plan, only to receive devastating news in December that the cancer had relapsed.

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“Doctors only expected him to live 6 to 12 weeks,” Joni Claymon recalled. “Obviously, he’s far exceeded that.”

Up until about a week ago, Andrew had been feeling decent and even managed to work his dream job at Merritt Resevoir. However, his condition started to worsen more recently.

“He had some severe breathing issues happen earlier this week where we thought he was gone but he said he talked to God and God wasn’t ready for him yet,” Joni Claymon said.

On Thursday, the Claymons were moving from the resevoir to Andrew’s grandparents’ home in Nebraska. Andrew’s parents said he no longer wanted to live out of a camper at the lake and had asked to move to his grandparents’ house. Joni Claymon said her son seemed to be doing a little better Thursday than in past days. He ate a little pizza after not eating for four days. Joni Claymon said she’s grateful for every day with her son, especially after getting grim test results June 2.

“When the doctors reviewed the scans, they said it was an absolute miracle he was able to do what he was doing: working, fishing and not in extreme pain,” she said. “In my mind, every day we get with him is extra time.”

Mike Claymon said his son has showed more strength and courage than anybody he’s ever seen.

“He continues to amaze us with moments of strength and love and gratitude to people around him,” he said.

People in the community can follow the Andrew Claymon’s blog on http://www.carepages.com.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or smausolf@vaildaily.com.