HASLETT - Smiling through the tears, you would have never known that about a year-and- a-half ago Shane Goodale’s life would be changed forever.
Paralyzed from the waist down, he was involved in a motorcycle accident during his first year of college. The odds of surviving were slim, he knew he shouldn’t have made it. On January 7, 2005 he realized why he did.
Goodale and his wife Ronda would have their first child. Studying English in college, Goodale had a love for William Shakespeare. When he found out he was having a boy the name “Will” seemed to be the best fit.
Will was a fifth-grader at Ralya Elementary in Haslett. He was a normal ten-year-old boy. He loved his friends, he was kind, and many remember his ‘infectious smile’.
“He was a pure spirit, everything that a kid should be,” said Goodale.
In June 2015 his parents started to notice that something was off with Will’s coordination. Sudden falls, and complaints of a headache were very abnormal for him.
While trying on a baseball glove, Will was unable to straighten out his fingers on his right hand. Piecing together recent incidents that Will was having a couple weeks before, his Dad initially thought that he may have had a stroke with most of his complaints being on one side of his body.
“We rushed him straight to Sparrow for a CT Scan. It came back clear, but doctors wanted to give him an MRI of his brain and spinal cord. It could not be read in Lansing until that following Wednesday, so they asked if we would take him to the University of Michigan where we could get the results that next morning.”
The news wasn’t good.
The results from the scan showed that Will had a stage four tumor that was intermingled with his brain stem. Based on standard protocol, only 5 percent of children respond to the treatment on average.
[Shane] Goodale, a local attorney, consulted with different medical colleagues and friends, they all urged him in enrolling Will in a clinical trial. Goodale then contacted some of the top researchers in the country and learned of available trials. On Aug. 1, 2015 Will would undergo a craniotomy procedure at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, but failed to qualify for any clinical trials there.
“We took a redeye to Detroit, drove back to our home and the next morning at 6 a.m we drove to Chicago to meet with a researcher,” he said.
Will and his parents were staying at the Ronald McDonald House after learning that he would qualify in Chicago. The consent was signed to enroll him that Friday then they received a call early Saturday morning in September 2015.
They were told that there is a strict 30-day window from diagnosis to treatment to qualify for clinical trials. That following Monday, when he would begin would be day 31; [Shane] Goodale wouldn't take no for an answer.
Goodale and the researcher applied for “compassionate use” and within 10 days from the application he had the approval. The ultimate plan mimicked the clinical trial. 30 radiations then he would start the experimental drug Veliparib.
Will would have five radiation treatments per week for six weeks. On the 30th one, his body had shut down.
On Nov. 2, 2015 Will had passed away.
The average expectancy for a tumor as aggressive as his is 2-3 months. Will had fought for five.
Today his Dad remains positive. Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin was one of his favorite songs to play when Will was first born. He promised he would never be that kind of Dad depicted in the song; and he wasn’t.
Cherishing the memories of Will riding on his lap, one of his favorite things to do. As well as when they drove their golf cart through the Culver’s drive thru, or hitting tennis balls at Haslett High School, they were inseparable.
“I can smile today because I know there is nothing more that I could have done to make his life any more joyous, we did everything together. He loved his life, he loved his parents. My purpose was to be an amazing Dad to this little boy, he referred to me as his best friend. He was truly on his way.”
Will would have turned 12 this January.
Wednesday Feb. 1 Rayla Elementary will hold a “Celebration of Life” in Will’s honor from 5:30-8:00. The public is welcome, and those who wish to donate may do to so: Will Goodale’s Memorial Fund, AG # 54568.