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Parker Strong: Advance teen gets wish

ADVANCE – Parker Bailey couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face on Sunday afternoon.

The 14-year-old son of Mike and Mandy Bailey had just received a new Alienware gaming system from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The gifts were lined up on a table under a tent in his driveway when he came home that day.

And soon – the parade began.

First, he could see the blue light of a Davie County Sheriff’s Department patrol car. It was followed by more than 25 vehicles filled with family and friends – all decorated – congratulating Parker on reaching this milestone in his treatment for leukemia. An Advance Fire Department truck followed the parade.

The well wishers branded signs that said things like “Parker Strong,” “This Wish is for Parker” and “Surprise. Make a Wish. God is good.”

“That was really cool, but embarrassing,” Parker said. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

Parker was diagnosed with leukemia in 2018, and the first year and a half were really tough. He’s gone through blood and platelet transfusions, and suffered from pancreatitis four times.

The treatment is a three-and-a-half year process, his mother said. Still, he takes chemo pills daily, and once a month goes in for an IV. He has a lumbar puncture every three months.

His mother, a hygienist at Hillsdale Dental, said his family is thankful.

“I’m so thankful,” she said. Number one, to God. And being so close to Brenner Children’s Hospital has been wonderful. They have been amazing.”

His dad, owner of Bailey’s Barber Shop in Fork, said that playing video games was one of the few things Parker could do while really sick. And to top it off, the family is talking about converting an extra room over the garage into Parker’s new gaming room.

It was an uplifting day.

As one woman put it to Parker: “That’s only a handful of how many people love you.”