- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Robert Rogers has spent his entire life fighting to overcome learning and developmental disorders. Now, Rogers, 22, known as a “gentle giant” to friends and family, is seeking the community’s help while he fights incurable sarcoma, a type of cancer.
An all-you-can-eat benefit dinner will be held for Rogers at the Legends Club at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf on Feb. 23.
The benefit is sponsored by Rogers’ friends and family, and aims to offset medical costs for the family and help add to Rogers’ quality of life.
Rogers’ mother, Katherine L. Brooke of Waldorf, said her son was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma in 2011, shortly after her younger son, Cody Rogers, 20, had his last chemotherapy treatment after battling two years with non-Hodgkins T-cell lymphoma. Cody Rogers is currently in remission.
Once diagnosed with sarcoma, Robert Rogers went through chemotherapy and radiation, much like his brother, at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He received clean scans in September, but by December, the family found out that the cancer was back and had spread.
For the last four years, Brooke said, one or both of her sons has had cancer.
She said she remembers when Cody Rogers came home after his first diagnosis; Robert Rogers helped take care of him.
This along with volunteering with children at Mary H. Matula Elementary School in La Plata, where Brooke is a teacher, his overall attitude and his height of over 6 feet have helped give Robert Rogers his “gentle giant” status.
“The kids love him,” Brooke said of students at Matula.
Robert Rogers’ family said there is no cure for him because the cancer has spread throughout his body. He will get two months of chemotherapy to slow down the progression.
The family will attempt to make as many of his wishes come true as they can.
Some of his wishes include going bowling, having a puppy and seeing the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Fla. His biggest wish is to visit Lambeau Field, the home of his favorite team, the Green Bay Packers.
Brooke said the family is doing what they can to make the best of this time with Robert, though even small trips like a night out bowling can be tough financially on top of medical costs.
The family will be getting a golden retriever puppy in coming weeks, through the help of a friend.
Brooke said her family has received a lot of support from friends and family, especially members of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. She said Robert was the team bat boy for the first three seasons the team played in Waldorf and only stopped to pursue a career with help from the Workforce and Technology Center in Baltimore, a program he began via the Department of Rehabilitative Services.
Brooke said his going to the center was like going away to college for him because he would only come home on weekends.
Due to his illness, Robert Rogers was no longer able to help out with the Blue Crabs, even though he wanted to.
Brooke said the team has been very supportive, and players and manager Patrick Osborn have sent him good wishes and come to visit during the off-season.
“The best thing to ever happen to him was working with the Blue Crabs,” Brooke said.
While the Blue Crabs are not an official part of the benefit, many players have donated auction items for the event.
“They look at him as a little brother,” Brooke said.
Brooke said she sees the benefit as not only a way to help raise money for her son and the family but to provide some fun for Robert.