Chiefs player brings joy to Kansas boy who’s been at Ronald McDonald House for nearly a year
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - The average stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City is five nights. That just one thing that makes 9-year-old Ethan Frisbie exceptional. He has spent 267 days there. Monday night, he had many reasons to celebrate.
“We’re leaving tomorrow,” he said joyfully, sitting in a quiet living room across the street from the suite where he and his parents have lived for nearly a year.
The night before he left, he got a special visitor. Chiefs tight end Jody Fortson was visiting to serve up a meal and mingle with many Ronald McDonald House families. But, before the main event, Ethan got what we in the media call a one-on-one.
“Did you watch the game this past Sunday?” Fortson asked
“Yeah,” Ethan replied. “They tied, so you guys had to do overtime.”
The third-grader from Melvern, Kansas, quickly cut to pressing questions.
“After the games, do you say, ‘Good game’ to the other players?” he asked.
“Every time,” Fortson replied.
Other questions included whether the gear makes them sweaty, whether players get hurt and play through it, and how often they take breaks during practice. But, one question led to a long pause.
“Is it hard to do?” Ethan asked.
Sure, Fortson said, but it’s a job that you enter with a passion for what you do. That’s when he brought it back to Ethan.
“Like, what you’re doing is hard to do isn’t it?” Fortson asked. “You get up and fight every day and have the passion to do it. What you’re doing is way harder than what I’m doing, I promise you that.”
Last Christmas, Ethan was in the hospital.
“I had leukemia,” he said, quite matter-of-factly.
Had. Past tense. Two bone marrow transplants and countless chemo treatments later, he’ll make the hour-plus drive home cancer free.
“I’m going to spend a lot of time with my dad, Chris,” he said when asked what he’ll do when he gets home. “Probably going to practice riding my four-wheeler. And, probably going to do lots of things. Like, we’re celebrating Christmas there, too. At three places.”
That would be his parents’ house, his grandparents’ house and his aunt’s house. He has a lot of people who can’t wait to host.
Asked about all the treatments, Ethan didn’t complain. He said he was “asleep” for most of them, so they didn’t hurt. When he was hooked up to an I.V. on a pole, he was confined to his room for a long time. He said that was a bummer but that it wasn’t all bad because he got to build a lot of Minecraft LEGO.
After Fortson signed a football and a ballcap for Ethan, Ethan signed a Chiefs Kingdom flag for Fortson. The tight end said he’d be hanging it up at home for inspiration and motivation.
“Fighting leukemia, that’s no small task. That’s a large feat,” said Fortson. “That’s a strong individual right there. So, I’m going to hang this up in my game room with some pride.”
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