HOUSTON - The story of a young boy battling cancer is spreading, thanks to a billboard and the power of prayer.
Tom Hays spends nearly every hour of the day at his son Percy's hospital bedside, reading from the well-worn pages of the 6-year-old's favorite books. Percy is in pain, but he responds to his father's voice.
Hays is originally from Dallas. He sold his business in England, where he was living with his wife and children, and moved the family to Houston to get Percy help.
For nine months, doctors at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have treated Percy, but his rare form of cancer, undifferentiated abdominal sarcoma, is getting worse.
"He can't swallow anything," said Hays. "One of the tumors is pressing on his stomach. It's awful, absolutely terrible. I'd trade places with him immediately if I could. If someone has to die, then let it be me. I'd go tonight. I'll go now. Just spare him."
Leaning on his Christian values, Hays decided to take a different approach. He rented a billboard on I-45 between Houston and Galveston.
On the sign, next to a photo of Percy, he wrote a simple but powerful message, "Please Pray for Percy, Age 6 - Cancer."
"South Texas is full of a lot of really good people that can bring that sort of healing grace to my little boy," said Hays. "Some kind soul will pray and that will make the difference and will save him. That would be wonderful. That would be a miracle."
The billboard caught the attention of Local 2 viewers and Percy has seen the sign too.
"At least [Percy] knows that we are trying," said Hays.
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