Bend Your Knees

by Laura Braddick  lbraddick@cherokeetribune.com
April 10, 2011 12:00 AM
Collins Dixon, 11, enjoys the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta last week with his father, Bob Dixon; brother, Ronnie Chastain, 14; and mother, Robin Dixon. Collins is undergoing treatment for a Glioblastoma brain tumor, an aggressive and rare form of cancer in children.<br>Cherokee Tribune/Special

“Bend your knees!”

That’s the cry 11-year-old Collins Dixon shouts whenever his older brother goes up for a free throw.

“When my son (Ronnie Chastain, 14,) would shoot fouls, he always missed,” said the boys’ mother, Robin Dixon. “The coach told him to bend his knees.”

So when the crowd goes silent at the North Georgia Heat youth basketball games, Collins proudly reminds his brother what to do before he takes the shot.

“The moms do it when he’s not there,” Mrs. Dixon said.

With these three words, Collins and his cry of encouragement have become an inspiration to communities throughout Cherokee County and beyond.

In early March, Collins, a sixth-grader at R.M. Moore Elementary School, was admitted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite after suffering from dizziness, fatigue and vomiting for about two weeks.

After a CT scan, doctors discovered Collins had a Glioblastoma brain tumor, an aggressive form of cancer that occurs in only 3 percent of childhood tumors.

Doctors were able to remove 67 percent of the tumor with surgery, and Collins recently returned to his home north of Canton with his mother and father, Bob Dixon.

From day one, Mrs. Dixon said, the support for Collins and the family has been beyond overwhelming.

“He had a nurse who has been there for 12 years that told us she’s never seen so many visitors for one patient,” Mrs. Dixon said.

The family received calls from teachers and principals from both R.M. Moore and Teasley Middle School. Some high school principals sent a care package.

A group of middle school students at the Dixons’ church, First Baptist Church of Canton, raised money to buy Collins an Apple iPad.

“He was so excited when he got that, he said he thought he was going to hyperventilate,” Mrs. Dixon said.

She said he plays the song, “Heart of a Champion,” which was written for a stage 4 cancer patient, over and over again on the iPad.

The song’s writer, Corbette Jackson, visited Collins in the hospital.

Sunday school teachers and church members also brought food and gift cards for the family.

Collins’ story became a movement when Jessica Johnson, a friend of his brother, Sonny Age, created the “Bend Your Knees 4 Collins” bracelets.

More than 400 red-and-white bands later, there is a back order.

“Churches we don’t even know have asked to sell them as fundraisers,” Mrs. Dixon said. “People are inspired by him.”

Being the youngest of six siblings, Collins has always had a competitive spirit, which made him a natural athlete.

Last year in fifth grade, he was invited to play football for the Cherokee Junior Warriors – a sixth-grade team.

“He’s so easily coached and loved and liked by all,” his coach Shawn Finch said. “You can tell him to do something, and he will smile from ear to ear then go out and do it.

Collins’ dream is to play for the University of Georgia, but the doctors said football would be out of the question.

“We still believe in a miracle,” Mrs. Dixon said, “that he’ll one day get to play again.”

Finch, who is also the student minister at First Baptist Canton, said like a lot of the church members he was upset when he heard about Collins’ diagnosis.

“The situation almost made me mad – why this had to happen to a kid like Collins,” he said. “But I’ve never heard him complain once. He is a phenomenal young man.”

The determination he practiced in sports has helped him through this experience, his mother said.

“I’d be so low if it weren’t for the strength he’s shown,” Mrs. Dixon said.

Collins on Friday began a six-week round of radiation and chemotherapy as part of a clinical trial to study safe radiation levels for children with this form of cancer.

As he moves into treatment, Collins and his family know there is an entire community behind him on bended knees.

“I refuse to believe God’s through with him,” Mrs. Dixon said. “God can use him from here on forward.”

Read more: Cherokee Tribune – Community rallies for 6th grade boy with brain tumor

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8 comments on “Bend Your Knees

  1. Lexi Fairchild on said:

    I just read about his condition on facebook. What a strong, inspiring boy! I will do anything I can to help you guys out. Im so sorry y’all are dealing with this struggle, but God has His hands around Collins. I believe that Jesus Christ has many plans for Collins in the future. He is in my families prayers and my church groups as well. God bless!

  2. elijahroberson on said:

    hey collins this is elijah roberson and i wont u to now are church is praying for u i hope u get better

  3. Garrett Heggie on said:

    PRAYING FOR YOU COLLINS!!!!!

  4. Amylue12 on said:

    Hey Collins, I dont think you can make it i KNOW youu can stay strong we are thinkin about you everyday! We Love You always remember that :) Teaslsey Is doin everything they can and so is alot of other people! You are strong and a heart of a chapion because you are one. Georgia Bulldogs are awesome……just like YOU!! Love You buddy

  5. elizabeth amparan on said:

    collins will surley be missed. he was my hero he inspired me he was a very stong person our school looked up to him. EVERYONE loved him and misses him our school is a mess right now still trying to get over his death but im sure we never will, atleast he can play basketball once again. i pray everynight for him. my hero<3

  6. Stephanie D Newton on said:

    My sweet nephew is an inspiration to so many especially me! I love you, Collins. I know heaven is beaming with your great big smile! Miss you more than words can say. This song, Blessings, was sent to me and I wanted to share it with all your fans. It is by Laura Story. Here is the link to the video http://www.godtube.com.
    You made us all smile, Colly and are a true blessing! xoxo~ Aunt Stephanie

  7. Pray4u on said:

    Collins, you changed my life. Youe will NEVER be forgotten. I love you Collins!

  8. Madison Downey on said:

    I woke up this morning looking at your picture on my wall beside my bed. I can’t stop thinking about you. I am so excited about your 5k race coming up! Thank you for everything you have done in my life. I love and miss you Collins <3

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