Remembering Donovan Trudell
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, December 20, 2016
For the past six months, Pearl River County rallied behind one of its youngest residents as he battled a rare form of cancer.
Thirteen-year-old Donovan Trudell passed away last week. He had previously been diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a severe form of childhood liver cancer.
“It’s been a tremendous outpouring from the beginning,” from churches, law enforcement and the surrounding community, Donovan’s grandfather Rev. Jimmy Richardson said. “People from all walks of life have really contributed.”
Donovan was continuing his studies at St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Richardson said, which helped him keep his spirits high.
“He was full of life,” Richardson said; Donovan loved sports and memorized football and basketball players, reciting statistics at the drop of a hat.
“Everything that has transpired really showed just how close the family in Pearl River County is,” Richardson said.
While Donovan was receiving treatment, community members organized countless fundraisers on his behalf, including a motorcycle ride, donations at football games, raffles and many others. Those fundraisers also helped him visit the mountains in Tennessee, one of his ultimate wishes.
“I certainly want to thank all of them as well as Pearl River County as a whole and the surrounding counties,” Richardson said. “It’s really made a difference, showing love and support.”
The family is now spreading awareness about the rare disease and educating the public about warning signs children could be exhibiting.
Listen to children when they talk about their health problems, Richardson said.
Going to regular check ups and doing genetic testing for reoccurring family diseases can help alert families to potential problems at an earlier stage, he said.
Donovan received treatment at St. Jude’s, where Richardson encourages others to donate to the hospital, something he has done as pastor of New Providence Baptist Church in Poplarville for years.
Donovan was always willing to help, he said. At a pancake breakfast held at Applebee’s to raise money for his treatment, Donovan helped serve food and ensured his siblings got what they needed.
“That speaks volumes to the type of person he was,” Richardson said.
Donovan didn’t want to allow his disease to hinder him, he wanted to continue to contribute, he said.
“I want his life to be a positive life,” Richardson said. “I’m blessed, even though it’s going to be tough to do the eulogy.”
Funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church of Picayune on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m.
The service will be, “as happy as possible because that’s what he would want.” Richardson said. “I learned a lot from him, in all that I do, he taught me a lot about strength to endure.”
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to Donovan Trudell through First National Bank of Picayune, P.O. Box 848, Picayune, MS 39466.
“I just hate that he’s going to miss the sports,” Richardson said.