July 12, 2023

Flowood family seeking help for child with aggressive cancer

Therese Apel

Hunter Burkhalter

A family is reaching out to the public, asking for prayers and financial help in their child’s struggle against cancer.

A post written on GoFundMe.com by Kristen Burkhalter tells the story of Hunter, whose knee began to hurt and nobody expected the outcome would be the worst possible scenario. Here’s the story in Kristen’s words.

My nephew, Hunter, is fighting a battle that no child should have to fight: cancer.

At the end of his fourth-grade year, where he received multiple awards, he mentioned that his right knee was bothering him. His mention turned into a complaint after the end of the school year.

His parents took him to a children’s hospital in Mississippi where they were told he had an abscess around his knee and potentially osteomyelitis (a bone infection).

After an incision and drainage as well as a biopsy, Hunter’s leg began swelling, causing intense pain.

Even during this, God was at work. Hunter’s mother received a call from a friend explaining that if it was cancer, he needed to get to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Hunter was later discharged from a local hospital, while they waited for the biopsy results. During the wait, God used a network of people who were co-workers, friends, family, and acquaintances to set in motion a pleading for a spot at St. Jude.

Then, they got the phone call that no parent should ever get. Hunter had osteosarcoma, osteoblast type, and high grade in his right leg. His family was told that the chemo he would need was in a nationwide shortage and there was not a trial open for him at St. Jude.

God is a miracle worker. Hunter was accepted to St. Jude where a PET scan revealed that he also had cancer in his left hip, making him metastatic, or stage 4.

He was enrolled in a clinical trial where he will be receiving the most aggressive treatment available for his extremely aggressive disease.

Hunter is smart, kind, funny, and so loving. He is an acolyte in his church and has been faithful at the Lord’s Table since his admission last year. His parents brought him to Holy Baptism and raised him in Faith.

He wants to grow up and work on a car with his dad. He wants to go to school to become a doctor. He wants to grow up and see his sister follow in his footsteps. And he should get to do all of those things and more.

He will require chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery to remove the primary tumor. This is going to be a long, hard year. Hunter only has one kidney, so his doctors will be walking a fine line to treat his cancer aggressively but also protect his kidney. Pray that Hunter’s side effects would be minimal and that his liver and kidney hold up under strain. Pray that this tumor shrinks and doesn’t do any more damage. Pray that his spirits would rise and that his good moments outnumber his bad.

St. Jude is 3.5 hours away from the Burkhalter’s home in Flowood. We are asking for prayer but also donations for this family.

Money donated will help them keep their home in Flowood so that when Hunter gets a break from treatment he can rest in his bed. It will also help Phil and Kristen(his parents) prepare for his future needs and current needs for his 4yr old sister Hannah Grace who is struggling with understanding.

From the bottom of our hearts we humbly ask that you share this link with friends and family and if possible, give monetarily (any amount will help). If unable to donate, please share and continue to pray for sweet Hunter and his family.


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