Faith sustains family in teen's battle against cancer

Until three months ago, David Koury was a typical 13-year-old, the "happy-go-lucky" son of Bryon and Kristi Koury and younger brother of Jeremy, Jenny and Rachel.

That began to change in September when David complained about pain in his right knee.

"At first, we thought he just twisted it," Bryon Koury said Wednesday. "We noticed it starting to swell. It concerned us so we took him to urgent care."

A doctor looked at David's knee and said he probably sprained it. He told David to ice the swelling, wrap the knee, and take pain relievers.

"Two weeks later, the knee was swelling tremendously," Koury said.

The Kourys took David to their family doctor in Carson City who ordered an MRI. The morning after the test, the doctor called with the news that David had a tumor and referred the family to an oncologist.

It took a few days to get an appointment, but David's pain was so intense, the Kourys went back to their family physician. He made a few phone calls and immediately sent the Kourys to Oakland Children's Hospital.

"They ran a bunch more tests which confirmed the tumor was osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer which strikes kids between the ages of 1-20," Koury said Wednesday in a telephone interview from the hospital.

In the past few weeks, the Kourys have had to learn terms and protocol to deal with the aggressive cancer.

"These are things I never thought I'd have to learn," Koury said. "One in a million children get this thing. It starts in the growth plate, usually in the femur or around the shoulder. It can infect the knee."

By the time the Kourys got David to Oakland, the cancer had spread to his lungs and possibly his kidneys.

The Kourys are making regular roundtrips to California so David can be treated with chemotherapy.

He is scheduled for surgery on Jan. 7.

"They'll either replace his knee and probably two-thirds of his femur or his leg will be amputated," Koury said.

"He was the picture of health three months ago and now he is lying in a hospital bed with the possibility of having of having his leg taken off."

David also needs surgery for lesions on his lungs.

"He's my hero," Koury said of his son. "He's scared to death which is natural, but he's been so strong and brave through this whole thing. It just amazes me."

Koury, a deacon at First Baptist Church in Minden, said his family's faith is carrying them through the ordeal.

"I don't know how people get through this without faith in God and Christ," he said. "If it wasn't for that, we probably would be insane right now. I know God is in control. He knew about this long before David was born. He has a plan for David's life and we are anxious to learn what it is."

Koury is employed by the Department of Public Safety and expressed his gratitude to his coworkers.

"Our church support, our friends and family have really sustained us. It's been overwhelming, the love and support that have be shown to us. It is so appreciated," he said.


-- A fund has been established at U.S. Bank to assist the family of David Koury with travel expenses associated with his cancer treatment. Donations may be made the David Koury Fund, account No. 153-752-591-823.

-- Friends of the Koury family are sponsoring a silent auction of original art by Janice Shedd and Colleen Nestroyl. The paintings are on display at the Douglas campus of Western Nevada College, 1680 Bently Parkway South, where bids will be accepted through Dec. 10. Information, 782-5321.


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