Regular readers will recall my story from early this year about the trials of the Salmon family, based in the Anderson, California, area and including longtime independent owner-operator Howard Salmon. Howard’s four-year-old son, Liam, at that point was in the early stages of a fight with a rare form of cancer, which has extended through various rounds of drug treatments, hospital stays and so much more difficulty.
When I checked in with owner-operator Salmon a week or so back, he was gearing up for the possibility that he might take a local load or two between what’s been a nine-month full-time-care stint for himself and his wife, Mary.
Otherwise, the only real trucking he’s done has been in support of fire-relief efforts in his region — when we talked, one of the large wildfires was a mere seven miles from his home in Anderson. “We’ve had them close before, but they got contained quickly,” Salmon said at the time, though this particular fire was then “still not contained. There’s another one south of us about 15 miles away. They’re all around us.”
As for Liam, the experimental treatment he was beginning when I last wrote about him failed, Howard said. “The tumor has grown,” and Liam “started having troubles recently. He went on a new drug, as well as steroids again.” He’s seemed at times to “get more stable” but as of July 1 he’s been unable to walk.
“The boy has a lot of spirit,” Howard said. “He’s going through hell. We’re hopeful for this new drug — it has some promise. If we can reduce the swelling of that tumor, we’ll have something that we can go on.”
The Salmons were recently featured in a spot on local TV, partly about young Liam’s status as “poster child,” quite literally, for a St. Christopher Truckers Fund campaign in partnership with TA Petro. The “Truckers Fund” stepped up to help Howard and family early on in the course of Liam’s disease, as Howard spoke about with reporters in the TV spot linked above as well as myself back in January.
As local press has picked up on the young man’s story, words of well-wishes have poured in through postcards and the like, which Howard says Liam appreciates. His birthday is coming up, too, on Oct. 29. Liam loves birthday cards, Howard added, Legos (“I’m getting good at Legos,” he added) and Tonka and other trucks — the small ones. Given his physical limitations with his illness, Liam “can’t handle the big stuff right now.”
Liam will be five years old.
You can send cards to:
6028 Calin Lane
Anderson, CA 96007