Henry Downs, 7, of Randolph, runs the bases prior to the July 17 Portland Sea Dogs game at Hadlock Field as his parents, the Sea Dogs’ mascot Slugger, and the members of the Portland Sea Dogs and Somerset Patriots teams look on. Downs was named an Anthem Hero at Hadlock for his courage in battling brain cancer at a young age. Submitted photo

Seven-year-old Henry Downs of Randolph was honored July 17 as an Anthem Hero at Hadlock for the courage he has displayed battling a rare cancer at a young age.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield continues its commitment to supporting the prevention and treatment of cancer and the work of the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, according to a news release from Anthem.

Downs is the third of four Anthem Heroes at Hadlock to be recognized during the 2022 season. The ceremony took place prior to the Portland Sea Dogs game at Hadlock Field.

“At Anthem, we’re honored to recognize the bravery and perseverance of kids like Henry who have faced significant health challenges at such a young age,” said Denise McDonough, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. “We’re fortunate to have the Maine Children’s Cancer Program in our state supporting these kids and their families and fighting to end childhood cancer.”

In January 2021, Henry started complaining of belly pain and was admitted to The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. Scans found a large mass off of his bladder and a biopsy confirmed he had stage 3 intermediate risk Rhabdomyosarcoma. After two months of chemotherapy, Henry’s tumor shrunk enough that it could be surgically removed.

He had daily radiation treatments in Boston for two months, and then returned home to Maine to continue chemotherapy for another year.

Today, Henry is cancer-free and enjoying his summer as a happy and healthy 7-year-old. Henry’s parents credit the teams at MCCP, BBCH, and Mass General Brigham for going above and beyond to help him get on a path to remission.

The Anthem Heroes at Hadlock program provides children who have battled a serious medical condition a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Hadlock Field. Each honoree takes a celebratory home run lap around the bases of Hadlock Field prior to a Portland Sea Dogs home game. The children and their families also receive a number of Sea Dogs souvenirs and other VIP privileges at the game. The Anthem Heroes at Hadlock program plans recognize one more courageous kid this season prior to the game on Friday, Aug. 12.


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