The second annual Sandwich PMC Kids Ride, which steps off May 20, will honor a very special participant: four-year-old Isaac Shrauger of Centerville.

Geared for cyclists ranging in age from 3 to 14, the fundraising event offers youngsters a tangible way to join the fight against cancer like their adult counterparts in the “Big PMC” each August. Bikes and trikes will depart from the Sandwich Harbormaster's Office parking lot and span the route of the Cape Cod Canal path. The supervised ride will offer various routes for different abilities.

All proceeds raised by the youth riders will benefit cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston -- a place that has become very familiar to the Shrauger family. Isaac’s low-grade fever and facial rash in March of 2017 turned out to be much more than Sarah and Mark Shrauger could have ever imagined. When Isaac was diagnosed with with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, they were stunned.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” Sarah said. “Sometimes it still hits me all of a sudden that my child has cancer.”

The Shraugers initially spent 35 days in Boston Children’s Hospital with Isaac, before later returning for a 19-day stint. Now 14 months into a two-year treatment plan, Isaac is doing well, in spite of the ongoing chemotherapy that keeps him up at night.

“It makes my tummy feel bad,” said Isaac.

After a particular course of chemotherapy a few months ago, Isaac lost his dark, curly hair; eyebrows; and long eyelashes. His hair is now growing back, but with a touch of blonde.

Through it all -- the nausea and the hair loss, getting the port in his chest accessed (something he particularly dislikes) -- Isaac has kept his signature smile and cheerful disposition.

“I made friends one day at the Jimmy Fund with a little girl because she was having a rough day,” he said.

Isaac also befriended Lt. Nate Coughlan, an EMT with the Hyannis Fire Department, who, upon learning of Isaac’s dream to be firefighter when he grows up, made Isaac an honorary member at a celebration last summer.

Sarah Shrauger is grateful for what she believes are silver linings in a dark time.

“You never want to have to go through something like this, but if you do, it’s wonderful to have so much support," she said. "This has been overwhelming but some incredibly good things have come from it. We have been introduced to so many kind-hearted people, both in the Cape Cod community and through the Jimmy Fund.”

Isaac also had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at the inaugural Cape League All-Star Weekend celebrity softball game at McKeon Park in Hyannis to former Red Sox catcher (and Cape League alum) Jason Varitek.

“He was really nice. I took his arm off,” Isaac said, smiling.

In addition to their families, the Shraugers have also relied on the support of their faith community in the Osterville Baptist Church.

“Our church has been amazing. They stepped up as soon as this happened and have been there for us through it all,” Sarah said. “Our faith is what has really helped see us through this. We believe that we’re in God’s hands.”

After they first returned to Centerville following Isaac’s month-long stay in the hospital, the Shraugers were further reminded that they would not be alone as they faced their child’s health issues.

“When we pulled into the driveway that night, a circle of cars from the Barnstable Police Department were lined up with their lights flashing, waiting to welcome us. It was unbelievable,” she recalled. The department also presented the family with a check for $5,000 last July on behalf of a community initiative through Cops for Cancer to help defray the Shraugers’ medical expenses.

The Centerville Pie Company has offered steady support in the form of comfort food, by bringing meals to the family while Sarah and Mark take turns bringing Isaac to Boston for chemotherapy and caring for their three-year-old son, Elijah.

Although Isaac just began another course of chemotherapy last week, he has already taken to the streets in anticipation of the Kids PMC on Sunday, where he will arrive in style -- on a Hyannis fire truck.

Isaac has much to look forward to, for he and his family will visit Camp Sunshine in Casco, Maine, this summer, where he will meet other children with blood cancer. There, they will have the chance to not only share their medical experiences but, more importantly, share their similarities as children. Next year, Isaac’s Disney World Make-a-Wish will come true, which was facilitated with Lt. Coughlan’s assistance.

In the long-term, Isaac is eager to follow in the footsteps of his friends at the Hyannis Fire Department. When asked about the motivation for his chosen career path, his answer was simple.

“Because it’s just so good to save lives,” he said.

 

Register for the May 20 Sandwich Kids PMC

For information about participating in the Sandwich Kids PMC on Sunday, May 20, or to make a donation, visit http://www.kids.pmc.org/sandwich.aspx.