In Rex Fleming’s last few months of his life, his father, Lance, associate director of Athletics and Media Relations, and mother Jill bought him an iPod touch for him to text his friends, listen to his favorite music and play games while receiving treatment at Cook Children’s hospital in Fort Worth.
Lance and Jill decided to start an organization last fall called Pray 4 Rex. Many students may have already seen some of the bracelets and purple t-shirts worn by coaches, athletes and faculty with the “P4X” on the front supporting the foundation and their promise to Pray 4 Rex.
The foundation is still in the works with a board of directors and has a few papers to fill out here and there, but it will become public soon.
In mid-August, Lance and Jill traveled back to the hospital to visit Rex’s doctor, neurosurgeon and the nurse practitioner to thank them even more for all their hard work and support during his last days. The Flemings built personal relationships with these remarkable people over the two-year span treating Rex.
During their visit, they made sure to stop by the pediatric treatment center and give five children iPod touches.
“It was a lot of fun seeing the kids’ faces light up when they quickly grabbed the iPod touch,” Lance Fleming said. “We’re going to send about four or five more in mid-October, and during Christmas time have Santa Claus hand out eight to ten more.”
In a small town like Abilene, it is hard for Lance and Jill to be known as more than the parents who had their 10-year old son pass away. However, that’s just the way it is.
The P4X foundation’s mission will be to help families with funds for hospital bills and to make sure their child is comfortable in their last days, just as they did with Rex. There are already a few events in the works to help fund such families in the future.
On April 13-14, the Flemings will host a golf tournament at the Abilene Country Club golf course to raise funds.
“Aaron Watson (ACU grad and country artist) will be helping out with the tournament as he has shared a similar experience with his daughter passing away only a few short hours after birth,” Fleming said.
The Flemings will always have the word “cancer” on their minds, even if they do not welcome it. At first, with all the emotions, Lance expressed he did not want to have anything to do with cancer, but soon realized the ten years his son lived on this earth were meant for a purpose. It is hard to see such a purpose, but Lance and Jill said they will honor their son with the P4X foundation for many years to come.
They said there is not a day, hour nor minute passed where they do not think of Rex and wish he was still here, but always rest in the thought of where he is today.
“I know if he was standing right here in front of me and I asked him to come back, he would look at me like I was crazy,” Fleming said. “At the end of the day, thinking about him being up in heaven with God the Father makes me feel okay.”