Driven to action: Ex-Grizzly Cub, leukemia survivor strives to give back


Franklin high school seniors Matt Kelsay, left, and Evan Meade deliver supplies to basket assemblers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Monday. 20121010dj evan meade photo Franklin resident Evan Meade is a freshman at Butler University. A former student-athlete at Franklin Community High School, Meade is a leukemia survivor who is studying pre-med. File photo

Thirty months have gone by since Evan Meade was told by physicians that the leukemia he contracted as a teenager was in remission.

The Butler University freshman looks great, feels great and would seem in serious need of a 25th hour to each day considering how busy he stays.

Meade, a biology major, is taking 15 credit hours this semester, a launching pad for what the former Franklin Community High School football player hopes is a career in pediatric oncology.

But there’s more. With Meade there usually is. And it centers on the practice of giving back by utilizing what free time he has to educate people about the importance of donating blood.

After all, Meade is something of an authority on the subject having undergone a total of 56 transfusions while ill.

“Evan can stop a room in a second. He always speaks from the heart, and they stop in their tracks. He can speak to adults, and he can speak to kids,” Meade’s mother, Patty, said. “He and my daughter both are just amazing. Claire is so supportive of everything Evan does. Their bond is unbelievable. ... I’m tearing up just talking about it.”

It’s a parent’s prerogative to worry about a child. Jake and Patty always will, even though what used to be weekly checkup appointments for their son have since been spaced out to monthly, then bimonthly and now quarterly.

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