FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The auditorium at Canterbury School was full of students chanting his name. They cheered. They clapped. They showed their support for their friend and classmate, Charles Kent.
“It felt amazing,” Charles said. “I felt humbled.”
The 8-year-old second-grader was diagnosed with T-cell Leukemia in October 2022. The discovery came quickly. His mom, Sarah Kent, who is also a first grade teacher at Canterbury, said she thought Charles was looking pale.
“Because I was teaching here, I could see him next to his peers and realized it was a yellowish tint to skin,” Sarah said.
He was also acting more tired than normal. She thought he might be anemic and need an iron supplement. She took him for blood work, but never expected what happened next.
When the results came in, they had to rush to the emergency room and were immediately transported down to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
“It was the freak snow storm in October, so they couldn’t fly and they drove instead,” Jared Kent, Charles’ dad, said.
Charles had a blood transfusion in the ambulance on the drive down. The next morning the doctors said it was Leukemia.
The Kent family’s world crumbled. But, then they went into “go mode.”
His chemotherapy treatment started immediately. Charles gets treatments anywhere from once a week to every day in a given week. Because of that, Charles isn’t able to be in his classroom very often. A giant stuffed animal, named Furry Charles, saves his seat when he’s absent.
His entire treatment plan will last two and a half years, but the frequency of chemotherapy will decrease. The hope is that Charles can return to third grade in the fall.
Now, four months into his Leukemia Adventure, as he calls it, Charles wrote a book to encourage other kids fighting cancer.
“I just felt like the world needed to see what it’s like and give it out to kids who are also going through this hard time,” Charles said.
Tuesday, he got to come back to Canterbury to read the book to the entire elementary school.
“It felt like a hole in me closed,” Charles said.
That hole, he said, was his desire to share his story.
“Even though you can’t do all the stuff, you have to think of the positive side of that,” he said.
Telling his truth is one goal. But, Charles also has a second goal for his book.
“I want to raise $2,000 dollars for the homeless,” he said.
“It’s another example of how amazing a kid he is,” Mike Landgraf, Principal of Canterbury School, said. “It’s not about him. It’s how can he make the world a better place and he will. He is making the world a better place.”
The first step of that goal is to get his book published. That’s his Make-A-Wish wish right now. Landgraf hopes a publisher will take on Charles’ book before that so Charles can use his wish for something else. Right now, that would be a trip to Harry Potter World.
After reading his book and answering questions from his fellow students, Charles got to be with his class for a little bit.
“He needed this day. A lot of days are lonely and we can’t see a lot of people,” Sarah said.
But, Tuesday, was a good day.
Charles also wants to be an architect when he grows up so he can design a neighborhood for the homeless.