Striking Out Childhood Cancer

While his struggle is a battle, Clayton Richardson still knows how to keep a smile on his face.


Photography, Rachel Richardson

Clayton holds up the shirt that was made by the bowling team, showcasing his one-armed dinosaur.

Clayton Richardson is a junior at HHS known for his bright personality; friends of Clayton’s know that they can go to him for a laugh or just someone to listen. His friends describe him as caring, nonchalant, and never complaining, even after all that he has been through. He also has been an avid bowler for years and is a part of the HHS bowling team. 


Clayton has been fighting multiple health issues since he was a baby. At just 6 months old, Clayton was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease; he was able to receive a kidney transplant on February 15th, 2022, after multiple hospitalizations and years of waiting. What started as an upper respiratory infection slowly turned into the unimaginable; along with difficulties with the new kidney, Clayton has now been diagnosed with PTLD Lymphoma, ‌which was a result of the transplant. While this would put someone in bad spirits, Coach Barry Hubbard described Clayton as the “strongest [he knows]”. Clayton has been putting up a fight for a while and currently goes to Children’s Hospital in St. Louis regularly for varying appointments. 


Even if this is a very serious time in Clayton’s life, he always seems to bring out the best in it. Last year, a circulating video of Clayton from anesthesia went around and gave everyone a needed laugh. As his mother, Rachel Richardson, explained it, Clayton kept repeatedly saying that he was “a one armed dinosaur fighting a bear”. Since then, the bowling team decided to make a shirt with this one-armed dinosaur to help raise money for Clayton’s treatments and the expenses associated with travel. 


Along with “giving the nurses a hard time”, Rachel Richardson has also mentioned how Clayton builds lego sets for other sick kids in the hospital. Nurses and social workers work with him to find different children in the hospital to give these Lego sets to different children throughout the hospital. Clayton has a giving heart, and even while he is struggling himself, he still finds the need to give to others with what energy he has left after appointments. Like his friend, Keegan Vorhes, said, Clayton “always has a way to find [a bright side] in anything he does”. 


While his fight has been hard, Clayton still manages to put a smile on his face and the faces around him. He currently goes to Children’s Hospital for regular appointments related to his different symptoms and just recently started radiation therapy. If you would like to make any donations, Marion Police Department and Family Lawn Care are accepting anything that you would like to give to help Clayton in his fight against cancer.