Thousands expected at funeral of 'brave' Frisco boy

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by By STEVE STOLER / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on July 13, 2009 at 10:03 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 5:32 PM

Connor's Inspiring Story

Steve Stoler reports

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FRISCO - Eight-year-old Connor Cruse inspired thousands.

He spent 220 nights in the hospital and underwent 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 14 surgeries. His touch was evident by the two-hour waiting line at his visitation Monday night.

Cruse battled cancer for half his young life. He left a legacy of inspiration to anyone he met, and many people he never met.

"Connor was the bravest person I know," said Joy Cruse, Connor's mother. "And he was the strongest fighter I know. He never gave up."

When Connor was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma at age four, his doctors thought, at best, he would live a few months.

"It was all over his stomach, behind the heart, in his pelvis, in his ribs, in his legs, everywhere," said Tait Cruse, Connor's father.

But Connor's mom and dad call their son a little warrior who not only survived, but thrived.

"The 16 rounds of chemo and the 18 rounds of radiation, the 60 to 70 pills a day, the 16-hour surgery, the 11-hour surgeries - he didn't view himself as sick," Mr. Cruse said.

Connor's cancer battle touched people across the world, and even those in space. Shuttle astronauts prayed for his health. Hundreds of thousands of people visited his website Connorcruse.com. There were also e-mails that now make up several volumes.

"We're getting e-mails from Africa, Australia, the southern tip of Africa, all the countries around there," Mr. Cruse said. "People have been following this, from the soldiers in Iraq, soldiers in Afghanistan. [It was] a little boy's fight by word of mouth."

There was something about Connor that made people believe he could beat cancer. He still smiled in the face of an incurable disease, his family said.

"He became a hero because he just never complained," Mr. Cruse said.

Connor's parents said their faith has helped them cope.

"It's amazing the peace and hope that God gives," Mrs. Cruse said. "And so, that's what I would give to encourage others; when you go through something like this, God is there because it's hard to go through anything like this without his help and faith."

Thousands are expected for Connor's funeral Tuesday at Prestonwood Baptist Church.

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