Shannon Murry was about 20 miles from her Elgin home Friday afternoon when she received a hint that something extraordinary awaited her family.
Murry was driving home from Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland with her 2-1/2-year-old son, Easton, and daughter, Eizley, 3-1/2. They were returning to Elgin after Easton had been treated for leukemia for six months at Doernbecher.
Murry’s mother-in-law, Kate Schaffner, who also lives in Elgin, joined her in Island City and quickly hinted that something was in the works.
“I told her, ‘Pull over when we get to Indian Creek (just outside Elgin). Travis Perkins (a Union County Sheriff’s Office Deputy) will be waiting for you,” Schaffner said. “Then I said, ‘Don’t ask me any questions.’”
At Indian Creek Murry and her family received irrefutable evidence of the generous hearts and compassion of their small town. Elgin fire and ambulance crews and the members of the Union County Sheriff’s Office greeted the Murry family and provided a three-vehicle escort through downtown with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Many community members stood on the street waving and cheering and nearly a dozen businesses had signs up welcoming Easton home.
“It was awesome,” Shannon Murry said.
Easton’s mom was clearly moved by the outpouring of compassion, Schaffner said.
“She cried. She was happy to be home,” Schaffner said.
Easton also was thrilled by the reception.
“He was super excited. He liked the fire truck and sirens,” Shannon Murry said.
Easton’s father, Josey Murry, was among those greeting his son’s escort. Josey has stayed in Elgin since Easton went to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital but has made numerous trips to Portland to see his son there.
“He came every weekend,” Shannon Murry said.
Josey Murry remained in Elgin so he could keep his job there, while Shannon resigned from her job in order to be with Easton in Portland.
Easton was diagnosed with leukemia in June 2017 by doctors in La Grande. He was then airlifted to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Easton received three three-week rounds of chemotherapy and finally a bone marrow transplant on Oct. 12. The boy received his bone marrow from a 34-year-old man in Germany, whose marrow was determined to be a good match for Easton based on many factors including blood type.
The Elgin child was released 100 days after the transplant when Doernbecher determined that his body was responding well.
“One hundred days is a big milestone (for someone receiving a bone marrow transplant),” said Schaffner, who is Easton’s grandmother.
See complete story in Monday's Observer