Kokomo teen who lost home in tornado faces second cancer fight

KOKOMO, Ind. – A Kokomo family is relying on friends and faith to keep them strong amid major life obstacles.

Randy Rogers and his sons Gradyn, 17, and Brendyn, 15, sat in a different Garden Square Apartments on Tuesday night. Theirs was damaged in the tornado back in August.

Brendyn was home alone.

“It was really loud. It sounded like I was on a railroad track and a train just ran over,” he said.

It was terrifying for him but even more so for his dad. Brendyn facetimed him during the storm. Amazingly, the connection held on.

“All I heard was him screaming, crying, I think I’m going to die, dad,” said Randy.

Randy and Gradyn were at Riley Hospital that day. Gradyn, a junior at Kokomo High School, was getting chemotherapy.

He first fought leukemia at three years old and beat it. But when the athlete and Eagle Scout started losing energy late this summer, doctors dealt him a terrifying blow – the cancer came back.

“I guess everything happens for a reason. I just haven’t figured out what that reason is yet,” said Gradyn.

“We have a strong faith in God. That’s really helped us and comforted us,” said Randy.

Both said they don’t ask why. Instead, they just give thanks for generous hearts in Kokomo and beyond, who are now Gradyn Strong.

“I try to avoid negative thoughts. I usually try to keep my spirits up,” Gradyn said.

They hope that this season of trials will soon pass.

“Just keep us in your prayers, we need all the prayers that we can,” said Randy.

Wednesday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., four McDonald’s restaurants in Kokomo will give a portion of their sales to the family. Three of those locations are on SR 931. The other is on West Sycamore Street.

Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m, the Family Video on Southway Boulevard at Alto Road on Kokomo’s South Side will have a fundraiser.

Gradyn starts another round of chemotherapy next week. He will have to take it on and off for the next two years.