REED CITY — “I was sick,” is the way 8-year-old Ian Goltz puts it. Bluntly. No wasted words. Just the facts.

He’s a third grader at G.T. Norman Elementary School in Reed City.

He was one of hundreds of kids who took part in the special fundraiser that day at his school, and simply put he paid a quarter for a cup of lemonade because as he said, “I was sick.”

He has cancer, and he knows that the money raised was going to the American Cancer Society with so much hope and so many prayers that someday a cure will be found.

For now, Ian is waging a battle with a smile on his face and a love for life.

“I had another MRI yesterday,” he said matter-of-factly. “I was sick and had chemo for two years.”

Jody and Rick Goltz of Paris are no strangers to health issues in their family, but this one was such a big one. Initially, Ian had seizures before he was diagnosed with cancer. According to his mom, “Our original doctor thought he was fine and pretending, or just holding his breath. We knew different.”

So it was, when he seemed to be losing ground, his mom and dad pushed hard to get him seen by a specialist. It was then they learned the unthinkable.

It was August 2007. He was still four years old - just about to start kindergarten. “The day they checked him they said he had a tumor in the left side of his head,” Jody said. “They said he probably had the tumor since he was born. It wasn’t noticeable because it just sort of moved his brain aside as it grew.”

Ian was diagnosed with oliglioestrocytoma.

Jody said she was told so rare that only one child in 700,000 would get it.

“It was a relief to know what was wrong finally, but was it life-changing. I just wanted to go back to normal, and I didn’t even know what normal was.”So important was it to take action, doctors scheduled his surgery for the day after the diagnosis.

Ian’s chemo was administered in Grand Rapids, the pills at home.

“He had to take 60 pills in five days,” she said.

Ian remembers the helmet he had to wear, and he knows there are certain restrictions on him even now, “even when I’m better now,” he says, but promises that some day he will get to play football.

Now, doctors are monitoring another spot in his brain.

Ian’s mom said doctors think it may be scar tissue or ...another unthinkable.

His mom said he is a typical little boy.

“Ian’s a trooper,” said his mom. “He’s a fun kid and he’d come back out after all that chemo or tests with a smile on his face. He’s more grown up with medical terms than most adults.

Some people have said they wonder how the family does what they do, and Jody answers, “We have no choice. We love each other and we will keep going. We have to. For each other.

“I want Ian to be a kid and every day I don’t just focus on my son having this disease.

“I definitely do believe God had a big hand in Ian’s life. We just kept feeling a push to get answers. There are times I’ve questioned my faith and said why? Why him? Why us? Why me?

“I actually talk to a lot of people about all this, and I tell others to keep your faith too, always stay positive.”

Even when the diagnosis came in June 2009 that Jody had breast cancer, they kept on keeping on.

In May 2010, she was diagnosed with skin cancer. “I do know we have a lot to deal with it, but with faith and with the doctors we have, we know we’re doing our part and that’s all we can do. That’s all anyone can do.”

As a family, they are sharing with others, both wanting to and needing to, she said.

She asks that you pray for them, and she asks if you need someone to hold onto during a struggle or struggles such as their’s, remember they are willing to walk along beside you.

They know that’s mighty important.