Young Heroes

Devin VanCleave

by Rolf from Portland

Devin was an Ambassador for a toy drive. (I took this picture.)
Devin was an Ambassador for a toy drive. (I took this picture.)

One afternoon while Devin was playing soccer, his leg began to hurt. His parents took him to the doctor and found out that he had soft tissue cancer in his left leg. The cancer was called rhabdomyosarcoma cancer, a very aggressive and uncommon type of cancer in children. He was only ten. No child over ten had ever survived this form of cancer.

It was likely that the cancer was going to kill him and he knew that. It was in an advanced state. He had chemotherapy and radiation. The intervention took between 9 and 10 months, and he had treatments every 3 weeks. It took 2 months before they knew that the treatment was working. The treatments made him quite sick and his hair fell out. At one point, he was in the hospital for 60 days because he had chemo, two surgeries on his leg, and an infection. He had to be in a wheelchair for a while after all that. Now he walks with a limp as one leg is quite a bit shorter than the other.

The other reason that I think he’s a hero is that he was the ambassador to a toy drive for children’s hospitals all over the Portland area. This means he was the face of a campaign to collect toys for sick children. The main campaign volunteers came from a huge group of motorbikers.

Devin as ambassador. (
Devin as ambassador. (

Devin did it because he knew what some of the children were going through, and he knew that the toys would bring happiness to them. The hospitals that the toys went to were Shriners, Emanuel, Oregon Health and Science University and the Doernbecker. The drive gathered about 2 Tri-met buses full of toys. The toys were collected at the main Tri-met depot and then there was a parade of buses escorted by a motorcycle cavalcade to Shriners Hospital.

In spite of the fact that he has had all these serious experiences, Devin is still fun to be with and all around a great nice guy.

Page created on 7/27/2007 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 8/19/2018 2:59:53 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

A.B.A.T.E. of Oregon - will collect toys for hospitalized kids in 2007.
Rhabdomyosarcoma - is discussed by The American Cancer Society.
Shriners Hospital - is where Ambassador Devin helped out.

Extra Info

I interviewed Devin and his mother, Terry.

Author Info

For a school assignment, I was supposed to pick someone that I thought of as a hero. I chose Devin VanCleave, a boy who lives on my dad’s street. I chose Devin because he is a close friend of mine and because he survived cancer.