Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter
When Lucas Walker let his parents know several months ago that he wanted to have a carnival, his mother Veronia posted about it on Facebook. One of the people who saw the post was Fernley High School leadership teacher Jackie Kingston, and last week, Lucas enjoyed some of the best times of his young life as Fernley High School’s Homecoming Hero.
Lucas was diagnosed last September with leukemia and recently completed his frontline treatment, with lasted about nine months. He is now undergoing maintenance chemotherapy which will continue until January of 2025.
After seeing the post that was shared by Veronica Walker’s mom, Kingston got involved, reaching out to the family to let them know FHS leadership wanted to help. After deciding to make Lucas this year’s Homecoming Hero, they came up with a carnival theme for the Homecoming activities, capped with an actual carnival at the high school on Friday.
“Her and her leadership team, they worked really, really hard to put all this together,” Veronica Walker said. “They have been incredible.”
Lucas and his family participated in a variety of the homecoming activities throughout the week, including judging the annual lip sync competition Thursday night. He was particularly excited when he was presented with a popcorn tub full of goodies when he was introduced to the Homecoming crowd at halftime of the football game Friday night.
In addition to the activities, the Leadership class hosted a variety of fundraisers with the help of several local businesses throughout the week. Donations were also accepted at the football game Friday night, and each of the other schools in Fernley also collected coins to be donated to Lucas.
As of Wednesday evening, Kingston said the total raised is more than $11,000, with more donations still coming in.
Veronica Walker graduated from Fernley High 10 years ago and Tyler graduated from Fallon, and they’ve lived in Fernley for the past three years. After the year of tribulations they’ve been through, they were awed by the outpouring of support from the high school and the community at large.
“It means more than I could even put into words, honestly,” Lucas’ father Tyler Walker said. “It’s so great to see a community like this just come through and support Lucas like that.”
While he was undergoing his initial treatments, Lucas and his family also had to adjust to an addition to the family.
“He got diagnosed in September and then we had our daughter in November, so it was just a really challenging time for our family,” Veronica said. “Lucas has really enjoyed becoming a big brother. He is obsessed with his little sister.”
Friday night, it was candy, toys and balloons that he was obsessed with, and a deafening roar from the Homecoming crowd with an outpouring of love for this year’s Homecoming Hero.