In 2004, Brendan and Jenna Baker moved to Westport from London.
They’ve got 4 children. The youngest son – 8-year-old Henry — is battling leukemia.
First diagnosed at 2, he endured 40 months of chemotherapy — and beat it.
But last October, Henry suffered a relapse. He’s in the midst of 24 more months of chemo.
He spent most of last year at Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven. But he was home schooled, and looks forward to moving on to 4th grade at Saugatuck Elementary School this fall.
Yet Henry’s dad is not nominating him as our “Unsung Hero” of the week — though he is certainly heroic in our eyes.
Instead, Brendan writes about a “Team Henry” party the family hosted recently, at Compo Beach. It was the Bakers’ way of thanking everyone in the community who supported them through a very difficult time: family, friends, neighbors, and so many people at Saugatuck El.
As part of the celebration, the Bakers hired Phil and Tom Ice Cream — “the Good Humor Men” — to treat all the kids.
“Joanne and Peter Topalian were absolutely fantastic,” Brendan says. “They happily served almost 150 ice cream treats to a lot of happy kids.”
A couple of weeks ago — at 8 p.m. — the Bakers’ doorbell rang.
In the driveway were Joanne, Peter, and their gleaming white Good Humor truck.
“They stopped by simply because they wanted to do something nice for Henry,” Brendan says.
“They were touched by his story. They said they constantly think of him, and had stopped by a few times since the party. Unfortunately we weren’t home.”
Henry and his sisters were beyond excited to go outside, and pick out a treat from the truck.
“They did not have to do this,” Brendan notes. “It is a wonderful local business, run by genuinely good people who simply want to make a difference in the life of a young Westport boy fighting cancer.”
The timing was perfect.
The next day, Henry headed to New Haven for an afternoon of tests and chemotherapy.
A few nights later, the Topalians were back again.
Thanks, Joanne and Peter — aka “Phil and Tom, the Good Humor Men” — for a tiny gesture that meant a ton.
(Know of an unsung hero we should celebrate? Email details to firstname.lastname@example.org)