Community rallies behind local coach after daughter is diagnosed with cancer

Local News

IDALOU, TX– The expression goes, “though she be but little, she is fierce,” — a saying the Buckner family has taken to heart.

“[She’s] never been sad. She’s always happy. She’s always smiling, she’s always just in a great mood,” Luke Buckner said of his daughter Baylor.

Baylor Buckner is just like other kids her age. She loves her toys, and she loves to laugh. But when she was diagnosed with cancer in July just shy of her second birthday, her parents didn’t know what to do.

“My wife’s in there crying, and in the back of my head, I knew. It’s leukemia,” Buckner said.

On top of cancer, Baylor has Down syndrome, making her high risk during the pandemic even before her diagnosis.

Baylor’s father, Luke Buckner, has been juggling this hard news along with his job coaching and teaching at Idalou High School.

When one of his football players learned what the family was going through, he jumped off the couch and into action, planning a barbecue cookout to raise money for the daughter of a coach who’s taught him about life and about brotherhood.

“Coach has been there. He’s sacrificed so much time for us. The coaches are always there, they always teach us life lessons,” Brady Blackburn said.

Coach Buckner said he’s especially looking forward to the food Blackburn is cooking himself.

“I’m excited for that. I’ve heard the kid can cook a little bit,” Buckner said, joking.

Thursday, Baylor was discharged from the hospital and now faces a world filled with COVID-19.

She’s in for a long road of chemotherapy and quarantine, but with the support of their community, Baylor’s family is confident their fierce little girl will overcome the odds, just as she has before.

“It means the world to me, my wife, and my daughter … I’ve been so blessed these past three or four weeks to have neighbors and friends step up and cover for me and be there for me and bring meals. I hope others will too, but I can’t wait to repay the favor,” Buckner said.

The barbecue cookout is set for this Saturday at the entrance of Reddell stadium in Idalou from 11 a.m. until they run out. It’s brown paper bag style, and social distancing will be enforced.

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