After finishing his last chemotherapy treatment on Friday, Levi Delimpo busted out of Kentucky Children’s Hospital with the help of a SWAT team.
The 10-year-old walked through the hospital’s revolving doors and hopped in the Lexington Police Department’s Emergency Response Unit vehicle before rolling for home.
Levi’s dad, Anthony Delimpo, is a detective with the Lexington police, but he said he and his wife, Tami, were a little surprised when Levi requested that four men from the ERU team walk him out of the hospital.
Levi has spent the past eight months in chemotherapy after being diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare and particularly serious bone cancer, in February.
“Today means a lot to us,” Anthony Delimpo said Friday afternoon. “We’re very excited.”
Aside from the ERU unit, Lexington police mounted unit and motorcycle units were on hand to wish Levi well, along with his parents and 8-year-old brother, Colt, and family and friends in Team Levi t-shirts.
Before February, when he was diagnosed, “he was a very active 10-year-old boy” who played on a traveling basketball team, Anthony Delimpo said.
For the previous two years, Levi had experienced right leg pain, but the family and the doctors they saw chalked it up to the growing pains of a long-legged boy.
Until, Delimpo said, “the pain got to where he could not tolerate it any more.”
An MRI revealed what looked like a “deep bone infection,” he said. But after surgery, pathology reports showed that it was instead cancer that had spread to Levi’s spine and hip.
In June, his right femur and hip were replaced with a steel rod and ball and socket joint.
All his treatment has been at UK.
Friday was Levi’s last chemo treatment, but he still has 28 days of radiation to go, his dad said.
The family, who live in Stamping Ground, has been sharing updates about the process on the TeamLevi Facebook page.
Levi has also used the page as a platform from which to sell paintings he’s made by squirting paint onto canvas using chemo syringes. He favors the black and gold of his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It was his idea to sell those and collect all the money and give it back to UK Hospital,” Delimpo said.
So far, Levi has collected $3,000.
“It’s another way of shining God’s light out into the world,” Tami Delimpo said in a recent video shared by Gov. Matt Bevin. “People are going to hang these up and ask questions, and so we told Levi, ‘You have been given a huge platform for Jesus, and so no, God didn’t want you to have cancer, but he’s allowed it, and so use it for his glory.’ And so that’s what he’s doing.”
Levi said Friday that he was glad to be done with chemo, and getting to ride in the ERU vehicle was “really cool.”