Independent owner-operator Howard Salmon of California regular readers will know — seems like I’ve known him about as long as I’ve known anyone who’s read Overdrive, going back to my first months with the magazine in 2006. Salmon adopted a great-nephew, now four-year-old Liam James Salmon, some time back and, after long having gotten back into enjoyment of everything that comes along with being a father to a young son, Howard and his wife are now dealing with Liam’s terminal cancer diagnosis — a rare form of brain cancer situated near the brain stem.
I’ve had the Salmons on my mind the last couple weeks I’ve known about this, but today Howard asked if I’d reach out to the wider community to let you know what the family is going through, too, to ask for prayer and well wishes. “This has been a life-changing time for the whole family,” Salmon says. It’s likely he “will not go back to work anytime soon. If he only has a few months or I pray several years, I’m going to be here for him.”
Liam has been “my little hero” the last couple of years, Salmon notes. Just after the first of the year “we noticed a little problem with his left arm, and he had trouble walking. We went to the emergency room with him and within one hour he was life-flighted down to Sacramento. Within the hour we found out he had a brain tumor and then was scheduled for a biopsy. The biopsy results took a little over two weeks.”
It showed a rare form of the disease, and docs “are telling us that his lifespan may only be 6 to 12 months.”
Howard and Mary noted medical teams in San Francisco working with their doctors in Sacramento had approved Liam for an experimental treatment that had been shown in some patients with this form of cancer to extend their lives in varying degrees.
The Salmons wanted to express thanks to attentive docs for this, likewise to the Ronald McDonald House’s organization serving Sacramento hospitals, where they’ve been staying, and another philanthropic group in Redding, Calif., near their home in Anderson, that has assisted them financially as Howard’s been off the road. That’s the Wings of Angels organization. The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, too, he says, he wants to call out specifically, for their ongoing efforts to put together some assistance for his family.
“People think about these places, I know, and so many drivers donate here and there, always putting in a dollar for Make-a-Wish” and so many other organizations, Salmon says. “We all put a dollar in. But you never expect this to happen to your own child. So when it does,” the work of these groups and all their donors becomes especially meaningful. “I want to thank all the drivers for all the years of generosity — I want to thank them all for those couple pennies and dollars here and there, it all adds up. But you never fully appreciate it until something like this happens to you.”
When this is all over, come what may, Salmon says, I know “I’ll put greater efforts toward helping these organizations.” he adds. “Thank you to all the drivers and their families for the prayers for Liam.”
If you know Salmon personally, I’m certain he would appreciate hearing from you.
Keep him in your thoughts and prayers.