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Fundraiser planned to help United High School student battling bone cancer

| Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, 3:09 p.m.
Submitted
Michael Norris holds his young cousin, Brennan Kastle.
Submitted
Michael Norris

Family and friends are working to raise money for a United High School freshman undergoing treatment for bone cancer.

Michael “Chuck” Norris, 15, of Robinson began suffering from pain in his right arm and went to an “urgent care” facility on Nov. 26 when the pain hadn't subsided. Norris and his family suspected the pain was the result of pulling a muscle while bagging a 10-point buck with his compound bow during archery season, but the X-ray results showed a tumor, which oncologists at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh later diagnosed as osteosarcoma.

He was admitted to the hospital Dec. 11 and started chemotherapy the next day, according to his mother, April Regan.

Now, Norris is facing dozens more weeks of chemotherapy treatments and surgery to remove and reconstruct the affected bone.

Norris was a member of United's varsity football team in the fall, and he earned the nickname “Chuck” – an homage to roundhouse-kicking martial artist, Internet meme and “Walker, Texas Ranger” star Chuck Norris – from assistant coach John Holupka. He also played Junior Legion baseball for the United NRG team. After his treatment, he won't be able to participate in either sport.

“He played football since we moved here from Johnstown when he was in sixth grade and baseball since he was 4 years old,” Regan said. “He played Junior Legion baseball for Steve Barbus last year on the NRG team. Steve is going to make Michael an assistant coach since he will no longer be able to play.”

Also an avid hunter, Norris will have to learn to shoot left-handed, which he has already been practicing, his mother said.

He will be admitted to the hospital for two to five days at a time for chemotherapy treatments three weeks in a row, then have two weeks off before starting the next round of chemotherapy. The surgery to remove and reconstruct the bone in his arm should take place in early March, followed by 20 more weeks of chemotherapy treatments.

The Michael “Chuck” Norris Benefit Basket Raffle will be held Jan. 26 at the Armagh fire hall. The doors will open at noon with drawings beginning at 2 p.m. Tickets for the fundraiser will cost $5 and can be purchased at The Perfect U Hair and Nail Salon in Armagh or Sun-Kissed Country in Indiana as well as at the door on the day of the event.

Anyone interested in donating a basket or purchasing tickets can contact Michael's aunts, Kristalee Regan at 814-341-6344 or irelandbrtk@yahoo.com, or Lorea Goodlin at 724-640-4072 or blgoodlin@yahoo.com. The basket raffle also has a Facebook page.

A gofundme.com campaign organized by another of Norris' aunts, Elizabeth Slawson, started in December with a goal of raising $500 toward the costs associated with Michael's treatment. It has already raised $770.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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