Clayton Dabney was a very special and extremely courageous little boy. Everyone who knew him can tell you that Clayton was different than most children his age. His intelligence and maturity was beyond his young age. It was as if Clayton knew his time on earth was limited and he must accomplish as much as possible with little time.
People were always amazed at how sensitive and perceptive Clayton was at such a young age. Even after he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a muscle tissue cancer, Clayton never complained during long and painful cancer treatments. He continued to be a source of joy, courage and enlightenment to his family and those who knew him. Clayton gave the gift of love and laughter to those around him.
In particular, there are two events that show how unique he was and these events, to this day, serve as cornerstones of the Foundation. The first occurred when Clayton was just three years old. Playing at the lake he accidentally fell off a pier and into the water. Unable to swim and in complete darkness he did not panic. Instead he was drawn to a bright light that Clayton knew was an angel. The angel told Clayton that this was not his time and to reach up for his mother’s hand immediately. He did, and his mother pulled him to safety. The second event happened many years later after Clayton had been diagnosed with cancer and was lying in a hospital bed alone one night. That night the angels visited him again and provided the comfort he needed. These are true stories of Clayton’s life.
Sadly, Clayton lost his battle with cancer at the age of six on September 6, 1995, but his unique spirit and legacy will live on through the Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer. Clayton was very fortunate to have parents, family, and friends who could spend every moment with him right up to the very end. They also had the means to provide him with almost any request he might have had which provided Clayton, his family, and friends with memories that will last a lifetime.
The sad fact remains that not all children are as fortunate as Clayton. Many families are struggling long before they are struck with the devastating news that their child is going to die of cancer. Cancer not only destroys life but it can also destroy the emotional and financial stability of the family as well. It is an almost incomprehensible grief. But the efforts of the Clayton Dabney Foundation for Kids with Cancer can help ease these burdens and help provide much needed life-long memories. For when it’s all said and done, that’s all there is: memories.