BELLEVUE, Iowa — This weekend, Kyden Decker will mark one year since he was last discharged from the hospital after being treated for cancer.

It’s a milestone the 2-year-old’s family is observing with gratitude.

“It is absolutely wonderful to be able to be home with our family all together,” said his mom, Nikki Decker, who lives with her family in Bellevue.

Now, Kyden’s family is teaming up with Bellevue High School senior Cole Heim to support other people dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Heim is readying to launch a campaign to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“The whole goal is to find a cure for cancer, but we just want to impact someone’s life,” Heim said. “We just want to help as many people as we can.”

Kyden was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in June of 2020 and spent the next five months in and out of University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City for five rounds of chemotherapy.

Despite the challenges that came with cancer treatment, Kyden responded well to chemotherapy and qualified for a fifth round, increasing his chances of staying in remission to 70%.

“Luckily, after the first round he was able to get technically in remission, and then they continued with the intensive chemotherapy to make sure that nothing came back,” Kyden’s father, Jon Decker, said.

It was after Kyden’s treatment that Nikki and Jon connected with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Kyden became an honored hero for the nonprofit’s Students of the Year campaign, in which high school students enter a friendly competition to see who can raise the most money for the organization.

Nikki later joined the board overseeing Students of the Year in Iowa and was tasked with recruiting local students to join the 2022 campaign. Her mind immediately turned to Heim, whose family was friends with hers and who Nikki knew was interested in helping his community.

“I thought this might be a good opportunity for him to be able to just help other people and make a difference even more so than he already was,” Nikki said.

Heim thought the cause was a good one and came on board. He said that both knowing what Kyden went through and learning about other people in his community who have battled cancer have helped inspire him to make an impact.

Heim officially will be raising funds from Jan. 20 to March 10. In the meantime, he has assembled a fundraising team to come up with a plan of action for his campaign and to start seeking sponsors to help him raise money.

Plans in the works so far include a fundraiser at a basketball game between Bellevue High School and Marquette Catholic Schools, a concert and a benefit walk.

“It’s been really busy so far, but it’s been going very well,” Heim said. “I have great support from my team.”

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