There's a fighter in Will Glynn, one he's using to battle leukemia. He may be in the ring with that opponent for two years.
To help the 14-year-old Minuteman student knock out his illness, a blood drive was held at the Hardy School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3. Schedule your visit here >>
"He's in pretty good spirits," his father, Sean, said in an interview Sunday, Oct. 14.
The 5-foot-11 freshman began feeling achy last June, and his parents though, "Growing pains."
But on Aug. 5, Will was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which most commonly attacks 2- to 5-year-olds. He spent 32 days in Children's Hospital.
That was just the beginning. More recently, he had seven days of treatment, called "consolidation," which includes chemotherapy. Total treatment could last two years.
"We feel hopeful," Sean said, citing significant strides made in addressing ALL in the last 30 years. In addition, he believes the illness was diagnosed relatively early.
Apart from medical treatment, Will got a boost to his psyche a month after the distressing diagnosis. A boxing fan who likes to don the gloves himself, Will had a visit at home Sept. 6 from Micky Ward, the legendary Lowell boxer portrayed by Mark Wahlberg in "The Fighter."
"The surprise on Will's face was priceless, completely stunned," his father said. "We never told Will, so when Micky showed up, I yelled upstairs to Will to come down, he had a visitor.
"When Will appeared at the top of the stairs, he looked down I said, 'Who's this?' Will smiled and said 'Micky Ward!'
"He was a great guy, heard about Will and came down on his own time. He also invited Will to his gym to work out when he feels better."
In a visit arranged through family connections, Ward brought a poster of the Academy Award-winning 2012 film.
Sean, a 1990 Arlington High graduate who drives bus for the MBTA, said doctors at Children's and Dana Farber, remain positive.
His wife, Caroline, who teaches scuba diving at United Divers in Somerville, is one of nine children of a West Medford family, and family help has been a factor. So has aid from strangers.
"People just come," he said, some bringing dinners through Take Them A Meal.
In addition, Will has the support of his siblings -- Kevin, 12, and Emily, 9.
The plight of a teen ill with ALL remains rough. A recent week was a down as chemo left him nauseated. Further, the death of a Connecticut teen on his ward was deeply troubling, reflecting the uncertain path ahead.
Those who want to follow Will's progress online may do so at www.carepages.com/carepages/WILL_POWER (you have to register).
Here's how others are helping: On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Deady family of Weymouth is having a fourth annual Halloween party at the IEBW Local 103 union hall. Part of the proceeds will be donated to Will. For more, click here >>
The Arlington blood drive was organized by Ly Perry of Arlington. Perry said Rep. Sean Garballey, Democrat of Arlington, helped her get the Hardy site for the drive.
This story was first published Monday, Oct. 15, 2012.