Community helps Chinook youth who faces tumor surgery


Byim Leeds/Havre Daily News/[email protected]

Chinook-area residents have organized a benefit to help a Chinook High School senior travel to Salt Lake City for an operation to remove a tumor.

A dinner and auction will be held Sunday for Howard Miller. He's the son of Perry Miller, Blaine County justice of the peace and a high school wrestling and football coach, and his wife, Pauly Miller, who works for Bear Paw Title Insurance Co.

Howard Miller found out at the beginning of the school year that he has a tumor in his pelvis, Pauly Miller said. The tumor, slightly smaller than a quart jar, has grown into the bones of the pelvis, iliac and coccyx vertebrae. It is benign, but must be removed and bone grafted back.

"It just keeps eating away at the bone if it's not removed," she said.

The operation is scheduled at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City on Oct. 22. Miller said doctors expect her son to have to stay at the hospital for at least a week and possibly up to three months.

The Millers traveled to Salt Lake City at the end of August for a biopsy on the tumor.

Miller said her son, one of eight siblings, discovered the tumor after his Chinook High head football coach Matt Molyneaux noticed he was favoring his leg and told him he had to be examined by a doctor.

"The doctor in Billings sent us to Salt Lake," she said. "He said one hit could really shatter the pelvic bone."

Miller has been wrestling since he was 4, plays football and participates in track and field. He has worked for the past several summers for area farmers and ranchers, his mother said.

The dinner and auction were organized to help pay for travel and medical expenses.

Local people and businesses have donated more than 50 items to be auctioned off at the benefit, said Tracy Harshman, one of the organizers. Many others have donated time and effort, she added.

"We have had help from a lot of people, and that has made it a lot easier to put together," she said.

The benefit will be held at St. Gabriel's Catholic Church in Chinook. The doors will open at 5 p.m. so people can look at the auction items.

The dinner, with homemade spaghetti as the entre, starts at 6 p.m. It is free, but donations will be accepted. The auction will follow the dinner.

Harshman said the organizers also have set up an account for Miller at Western Bank in Chinook. People who want to make cash donations can ask about the account at the bank, she said.

For more information, contact Harshman at 357-3494 or Vicki Tilleman at 357-4105.

Pauly Miller said her son is keeping in good spirits and has a lot of support.

"He's just determined to overcome this," she said. "I don't know what we would have done without the help from family and friends."


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