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In February of this year, the day after his third birthday, Quinn Waters was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The day after that, he had surgery to remove 90% of the tumor. The remaining portion was resting on his brain stem and has been treated with three rounds of chemotherapy, one round of high-dose chemotherapy and one stem cell transplant.
The treatments have left his immune system so vulnerable that Quinn has had to stay indoors to avoid any sort of infection.
Jarlath, Quinn’s mom Tara and his sister Maggie have also had to curtail their lives to keep from bringing home a virus or other germs that might hurt Quinn.
Jarlath says his union health insurance has been a blessing, covering most of what he says has been “a stack of bills up to the ceiling,” but being out of work for months has made things financially difficult. There have been almost daily trips to the hospital that require money for gas and parking as well as other day-to-day living expenses that have added up. That’s where his union and others in the industry started to step up.
“They’ve been incredible,” he says. “Some came by and remodeled the basement so that Quinn has had a nice space to play while he’s confined to the house. Guys I work with have been selling t-shirts, hardhat stickers and donating blood and platelets.
They’ve been great.”
Waters was working for S&F Concrete on a project in Boston when Quinn was diagnosed. They’ve guaranteed him a job as soon as he’s able to return to work. He said company Superintendent Steve Monteiro, a member of Local 328, and the job steward Desmond Roache, have been in touch regularly, checking in on the family and providing support.
“It really is a Brotherhood. I’ve made lifelong friends in the union. It is like family and it’s not hard to work for a company like S&F when you know they have your back the way they’ve had mine.”
Waters said the financial and emotional support has been great, but what union members and others have done that’s been so helpful is raise the profile of “the Mighty Quinn” and his battle with cancer.
Aside from hospital visits, one of Quinn’s only personal connections to the outside has been through a window at the front of the house, which has become known as the “Quinn-dow.”
“He loves it when people come by the house and he can watch out the window. The first motorcycle rally that came by had about 137 bikes and Quinn loved seeing and hearing them all.” The shirts, hardhats and a steady string of events encouraged a swell of publicity.
“It started with a few people, friends and guys from the job, then it snowballed, everyone wanting to put a smile on his face,” he said.
“There’s been a car rally with 200 cars, Local 103 came by with the Northeast Electrical trucks, the fire, police and EMTs have come by with their trucks and sirens.
Quinn has also gotten visits from the Dropkick Murphys, the Boston Bruin Charlie Coyle, the New England Patriot Cheerleaders and a personal video shout out from Tom Brady.
“The fundraising is helpful, but the visits have been amazing,” Waters says. “It means he’s not just stuck in the house staring at four walls. The good energy is more important for him than the money is for us.”
“He’s such an upbeat little kid,” Waters says. “Always happy. When bad days are going on in the world, this community spirit brings people together.”
For more information on The Mighty Quinn, visit “The Mighty Quinn” Facebook page or visit mightyquinn.godaddysites.com