Fox Valley boy who received thousands of birthday cards loses cancer battle

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 4:27 PM CDT
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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - A Fox Valley who received thousands of birthday cards and presents for his 3rd birthday, has passed away. Action 2 New first introduced viewers to Finley Volkman back in 2016, when his mom put out a plea on Facebook to try and make the little boy’s birthday special. Nearly five years later, strangers who stepped up to support Finley back then, are now mourning his death.

It was the fall of 2016, ahead of Finley Volkman’s third birthday, on October 2nd, when the envelopes and packages started arriving at his home. “It gives me strength to keep fighting and it gives him strength to keep fighting and it just brings happiness and hope to our family,” his mom Stacy Rodgers said back then.

At the time, Volkman, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at just eight months old, was receiving chemo treatments every two weeks. His fight, at such a young age, brought firefighters and police officers from across Northeast Wisconsin to his home -- to celebrate his birthday and his bravery. According to Officer Dan Wiechman from the Fox Crossing Police Department, “We were there for him through thick and thin, whatever he was going through and not just Finley, but his family who was struggling with his illness as well, that we’re there to support and be there for him however we can.”

Learning of his passing Sunday night, in a post on a Facebook page chronicling his journey, was heart breaking.

“It’s just sad. Little kid, he’s a strong kid, he fought a long time,” says Clayton Samuelson. He rallied some co-workers in 2016 to support Finley, years later he still kept track of the boy’s progress. Samuelson adds, “We followed his journey the whole way through, we kept in touch. And then there was a lady at the mill that knew the family so she kind of kept in touch with me and we sort of followed him the whole way through.”

Finley’s story touched the community so much, and he won’t be forgotten any time soon. Nikki Burmeister from the Tina Troy Cancer Foundation adds, “I’ve known his dad since I was in kindergarten, so this is near and dear. Done a brat fry for him, we have the ride coming up for him August 14th, so it was a big shock.”

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