Lowcountry families bond through hope, despite life-threatening illness

Published: Jun. 11, 2015 at 7:52 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2015 at 6:03 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - If you walked outside Charleston International Airport early Thursday, you likely didn't recognize the place.

Dozens lined the construction-laden sidewalk, holding hand-made signs of encouragement, all to the tune of famous movie theme song, "Eye of the Tiger."

"My jaw just dropped as soon as I saw my sister and everybody else," said Academic Magnet student Nick Price.

In the moments leading up to his scheduled flight to Louisiana, and later Arizona, Nick had no idea all those people were there to support him.

In January, doctors diagnosed him with a pontine glioma brain tumor. It's located in a part of the brain that controls several vital functions of the body, including voice, eyes, arms, legs, swallowing and breathing.

The Price family has traveled the country in search of a neurosurgeon able to get to the tumor, causing minimal damage to his neurosystem. Tuesday, Nick will undergo surgery at a facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

"Nick's gonna come out of this," said father Russell Price.

"He's going to come through surgery, he's going to beat this, and then we're going to help other people in the process."

Along the way, the Price family has enjoyed the support of many in the Mt. Pleasant community, all while establishing a special bond with Todd and Brandy Richardson, two parents who've walked in similar shoes.

In 2013, doctors diagnosed their son Ethen Richardson with an inoperable brain tumor.   Despite numerous treatments, including a clinical trial at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, Ethen died last May.

He was 8 years old.

"She has just stood strong," said Nick's mother, Marie, of Brandy Richardson.

"That family has been there for us through this whole thing. They were one of the first people we talked to."

Brandy stood among supporters Thursday, handmade sign in tow, ready to sendoff the Price family in style.

Nick is one of several recipients receiving aid through the Ethen Richardson foundation, an organization the family started after Ethen's death, to provide financial assistance to families battling childhood cancer and other life threatening diseases.

"Everytime we cut a check, I feel Ethen smiling from above," Brandy said. "I know he's happy."

"Ethen Richardson did not die in vain," added Nick's father, Russell Price.

"He's helping so many other kids, in so many different ways. Nick is a good example of that."

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