Local airman diagnosed with cancer while serving overseas returns home

LAWRENCE, Ind.  (WISH) – New information about an U.S. airman whose health took a drastic turn while serving abroad.

Nathan Graves, from Lawrence, was diagnosed with leukemia while serving overseas. After spending about a month in an Italian hospital room, much of that time alone, he’s back home and has a message to the people showing him support. 

This past weekend Nate’s family was waiting with signs and open arms at the Indianapolis International Airport to see their uncle, brother and son.

Nathan is only 20 years old and was fighting off what he thought was a cold. Then blood work came back from the hospital in Italy to show he actually was fighting leukemia. According to Marcia Graves, Nate’s mom, one of the toughest parts off all of this is the language barrier. 

“Very broken English and trying to describe the sickness to us and where he’s at now and where he has to go from here,” said Marcia. “So, I am very anxious to talk to the American doctors In Dayton, Ohio that we’re going to be seeing and see exactly what their opinion is on everything.” 

“This isn’t the easiest time and the fact that people are taking their time to pray and do anything means the world to me, so thank you to everyone. I really appreciate it,” said Nate. 

Both Nate and his mom are headed to the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.  Doctors there will be checking his white blood cell levels and talking about the next steps.

They are hoping and praying that on Monday everything looks good and is improving. They don’t know the timeline on the treatment cycle until they get to Dayton.