Family of toddler with brain cancer receives help from deceased EMT
McMinn County Sheriff Deputy Jason Pickel goes to work each morning thinking of his son, Neyland.
"It's not easy; it's been really difficult on the family," explains Pickel.
The three-year-old now spends weeks at a time in Knoxville for chemotherapy. Neyland's summer was rocked in July when a high fever and seizure sent him to the hospital. He'd later learn brain cancer caused it.
"His doctor just happened to have some tests ran to make sure there wasn't nothing else that was causing the seizures," says Pickel.
Tests showed Neyland had a massive brain tumor, he immediately went through extensive surgery to remove it.
"It's hard to see him go through this because he's such an active and fun loving child," Pickel says.
Many of Neyland's medical bills are being paid out of pocket by the Pickel family, they have three other children. However, thanks to former EMT Zach Shultz, help is on the way, even though Zach passed away at the young age of 22 in an ATV accident two years ago
Last year his sister, Alex, helped put together a memorial ride in Zach's honor to pay off his funeral and medical bills. This year the Zach Shultz Memorial Ride will support Neyland and his family.
"It's great knowing that my brother, who helped people out before he died, he's still helping people out even though he's not with us," Alex says.
"I knew him, he was the true definition of a volunteer," explains Pickel.
Zach continues to give, even after death, to a child determined to live.
"Neyland has actually shown me a different level of strength that I didn't know existed," Pickel says.
The Zach Shultz Memorial Ride will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 at Athens Regional Park. Registration begins at 9 a.m.