'You made it!' Virginia boy who loves John Deere tractors finishes cancer treatment

Grandfather: 'We weren't sure we'd even see this day, but he's been a trooper from the very beginning'
Harry Smith Cancer Fight
Posted at 6:04 PM, Apr 24, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- It was a special day for a Hanover County boy diagnosed with leukemia more than two years ago.

The lobby of a children's hospital in Richmond might seem like an odd place for a walk, but for 12-year-old Harry Smith's family, the "celebration" involved only a few steps.

"I'm very proud of him. He has really been such a hero," Alice Shepperson, Harry's great-grandmother, said.

Harry Smith Cancer Fight
Alice Shepperson

That started when the then 9-year-old Harry first learned he'd been diagnosed with leukemia.

"It's surreal, because it's been two-and-a-half years. But at the same time, it feels like it was yesterday," Harry's mother, Blaire Moore, said.

CBS 6 first met Harry shortly after that when the Beaverdam community welcomed him home from his initial treatment with a drive-by parade.

Harry Smith CBS 6 Gives.png

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The family said that support only grew as his treatments continued.

"There was a car show for him," Kelly Waldrop, Harry's aunt, said. "The school let him drive his John Deere in the bus loop when he would have had strength enough to be able to do that to say hi to all the kids because he had missed so much school."

That backing extended to the staff at the Children's Hospital of Richmond.

"They just kind of took us under their wing and really told us, they were there for us every step of the way," his mother recalled.

Harry Smith Cancer Fight

The family said that through it all the young man was as tough as the tractors he loves.

"We weren't sure we'd even see this day, but he's been a trooper from the very beginning," Denny Waldrop, the boy's grandfather, said. "I don't think he's ever doubted it. We may have, but he never has."

The family said that thanks to God, answered prayers and all those supporters, Harry took those last few steps on Wednesday.

"Harry's going to ring the bell. That means this is the last day of cancer," Libbie, Harry's sister, explained.

Ring this bell

3 times well

Its toll to clearly say

My treatment's done

My course is run

And now I'm on my way
Harry Smith Cancer Fight

It was a moment that could make even the toughest tractor break down.

"Seeing him get emotional. That's the first time he's really let anything out," his mother said. "So, I mean, we feel relieved."

Harry Smith Cancer Fight

That's when mom the mechanic, who the family says is where Smith learned his toughness from, stepped in.

"Just whispering in his ear that that we made it," she said. "We finished."

Harry Smith Cancer Fight

"At the very beginning, they asked if you want someone to tell him about his diagnosis, and I was like, 'No, I'm his mom. That's my job,'" Moore said. "So it just made it surreal that I got to tell him that we were going to start this and then we get to end it together."

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