Photo by Dermot Connolly
Liam Anderson, with his parents, Brendan Anderson and Courtney Silha beside him, tells jokes at a fundraiser held for him at Gaelic Park in Oak Forest on July 1.
By Dermot Connolly
Liam Anderson turned 7 on Friday and was able to celebrate more than his birthday because he is doing well nearly a year after being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“Sept. 7 will be a year since he was diagnosed,” said his mother, Courtney Silha, of Oak Forest.
She said the birthday was celebrated all weekend, well-deserved after what she described as “an exhausting and hard year.”
His birthday capped off a very busy month for the boy who lives with his mom and spends time with his father, Brendan Anderson, in Evergreen Park. They were both there with him on July 1, at an enormous Liam’s Legion of Warriors Fundraiser attended by more than 700 people at Gaelic Park.
“I couldn’t believe the turnout at that. I still can’t believe it,” said Silha.
The volunteers who organized the fundraiser dubbed themselves the Legion of Warriors in honor of Liam’s love of superheroes.
“He’s big into Marvel comics and superheroes these days,” said Silha.
Two dozen costumed superheroes, including many who came from out of state, accompanied Liam throughout the afternoon filled with live music, raffles and other entertainment for people of all ages. Silha’s cousin, Rick Williams, of Orland Park, emceed the event.
Liam himself entertained the crowd too, telling a few of his favorite jokes in between pulling raffle ticket winners.
“He’s got quite a few joke books, and he loves to tell them any time he has an audience,” said his mother.
Everyone was happy to see him feeling well and having fun after a rough year. And he spent the rest of July swimming as much as possible, and going to places like Medieval Times, LegoLand and downtown Chicago, catching up on what he missed throughout the year.
“He’s been having chemo treatments since September, sometimes two to four a week. But he just started a maintenance program, with monthly treatments,” she explained.
Silha acknowledged that hearing her only child’s diagnosis was a shock but gave credit to the medical staff at Loyola Hospital in Maywood for helping her after hearing that her only child had cancer.
“It was unexpected but once everything got started, the nurses and everyone was so good. They walk you through everything,” said Silha.
She doesn’t know exactly how much was raised, but Silha is very appreciative of all the donations.
“Everyone was so generous. It really means a lot because I haven’t been able to work since he was diagnosed, and I still have to buy groceries,” she said.
Liam was homeschooled for the past year, due to his treatment regimen. But he is looking forward to going into second grade in September at Foster Elementary School.
“It’s not over, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said his mother.