In November Ogilvie High School sophomore Riley Hawkins was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Riley was featured in the Nov. 14 issue of the Kanabec County Times as the 15-year-old student who directed the school play ‘Check Please’. He is an accomplished student who went to state in competitive speech last season, has participated in the school band, choir, football and wrestling teams and is also a member of the local Boy Scouts. Riley lives with his mom Jenny Morrison and brother Robby.
Riley’s symptoms first began Nov. 17, the final day of the play, when he woke up having a seizure. Riley and his family were unsure of what the cause was, especially as Riley has suffered from several concussions over the years from his participation in sports. Also, it was the last day of the play and as Riley stated, “It was our final performance. I was going to be there.” Riley dressed in a suit and tie and greeted guests, making certain everything and everyone was ready. The last day of ‘Check Please’ ran without a hitch, and Riley was in good spirits.
The next day his mom Jenny took him to the emergency room where he was eventually transferred to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. On Nov. 20 Riley and his family received the news that the results of his MRI showed a brain tumor about the size of a quarter growing in his right frontal lobe, the area of the brain which effects attention and memory. No one was expecting such dire results, and Riley’s reaction was, “I was shocked.”
At this point it is uncertain if the tumor is benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Also unknown is whether or not the surgery will effect Riley’s memory or personality, as it is dependent on how difficult the tumor is to remove. He is scheduled to have surgery the third week of December, when hopefully more questions will be answered. Recovery is expected to take at least a month, if everything goes well and no unexpected difficulties arise.
In the meantime Riley says he is “taking it one day at a time” and staying positive with “lots of support from friends and family.”
His community is coming together too. Kelsey Kehoe, Ogilvie Community Education coordinator and Ogilvie School head speech coach has put together a team of people from the school and community to help organize a benefit for Riley and his family that will include a bake sale and a shortened performance of ‘Check Please.’
The benefit will be in Mora at the Zion Luthern Church on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 2-6 p.m. For more information there is a Facebook page titled ‘Team Riley’ with a link to his GoFundMe page. The Facebook page will also continue to post more information, events and updates.