Remembering Eli Clark

Published: Sep. 15, 2017 at 3:46 PM EDT
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September 24th, 2018, Elijah Clark passed away surrounded by family at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.

Eli Clark was a remarkable 14 year old, touching the lives of thousands for his courageous fight against cancer.

Wood County Sheriff, Steve Stephens “Who would have thought that a young lad like Eli, all the suffering that he's went through, how he became an ambassador for not only Wood County, but for the area and all over the country.”

Back at Eli’s 14th birthday party, his aunt, Joyce Carter told us how much Eli has impacted the community. “From what people tell me, as much as its helped us, I think it’s helped the community. Because so many people have stopped me to tell me how he's touched them. People stopped him when he's out with his mom and they'll say how much they love him. I've never met you but I love you.” Stephens adds, “A lot of people came together because of Eli.”

Everyone inspired by Eli's story quickly gave back to the family, sending cards, throwing fundraisers and praying every day.

“They didn’t have to share their son with us. But they did. We're all better people for knowing them, and for knowing Eli and we are very very blessed to have had him in our lives.” Stephens says.

Eli loved to sing, and make people laugh.

“The one thing about Eli is, when he smiled, he lit up the room with his smile.” Says Stephens

Even at his most difficult times he still had his tremendous sense of humor and brave spirit.

West Virginia Batman met Eli in August. He says, “He proved to the whole world what a trooper he really is. His life is a true testament of what it means to fight. I believe he held on longer because he wanted to make sure his family was okay first.”

His last year was spent making countless memories, from a Taylor Swift concert, to meeting celebrities, becoming a sheriff's deputy, riding in the bat mobile and spending time at his favorite beach.

Eli will be missed by many but remembered forever.

UPDATE 8/15/18

A day after becoming a junior deputy, Eli Clark becomes Batman's sidekick.

Eli spent some time with the Dark Knight from Heroes 4 Higher. He went for a ride in the Batmobile at Mineral Wells Elementary School.

Students joined his family and officers from the Wood County Sheriffs Office in cheering him up.

Eli's father, Roy, says he hasn't been feeling well lately but he's still fighting and the community continues to be a part of his fight.

"He gets stacks of letters from all around the world every day," Roy said, "continues to this day. The outpouring of love and support from everybody is just mind-boggling."

"I wanted to give him a nice, awesome bat-mobile ride in that car. It's what I call a hope injection," Batman actor John Buckland said, "because it'll really motivate these kids through their difficult times."

"I heard he's been having a really difficult time lately fighting his illness and sometimes when you go to the top and meet 'em halfway down you can pull them up over that hump and I think we did that today."

Eli's dad says the latest doctors' reports have not been good, but he's defied the odds before. And the family is so grateful for the community's constant, unwavering support.

UPDATE 08/14/18:

Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens says there's a new Sheriff in town. His department visited a local boy with cancer this evening, to give him an incredible honor.

Fourteen year old Eli Clark has been battling a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer for over a year. Recent Facebook posts on his page #EliStrong indicate that he hasn't been doing well lately.

So the sheriff and a few deputies visited Eli at his home to present him with a “County Mountie" hat and badge. Stephens says his office wanted to do something to cheer him up and make his night.

UPDATE: 08/07/18:

Fourteen-year-old Eli Clark always considered Holden Beach in North Carolina a home away from home when he left Parkersburg.

When his rare and aggressive form of brain cancer began to get worse recently, his family says all he wanted to do was go to his favorite place.

His mother posted in the Friends of Holden Beach Facebook group asking if there was a house available to rent on short notice. She explained her family's situation.

A woman named Lisa Anderson saw the post and worked to make the trip happen for him and his family. The community in Holden Beach raised almost $5,000 in two days.

The volunteers paid to rent the house for a week, loaded the kitchen with food and gave some extra spending money to the whole family.

"We're not going to think about the inevitable. We're just going to do every day what we can do make him happy and our prayer is that our God and Father in heaven will bless everyone that has blessed our family a hundred fold. And that's all we can say," said Roy Clark, Eli's father.

For the past year, a Wood County teen has been battling brain cancer. But cancer was the farthest thing from his mind as he celebrated his 14th birthday.

More than 300 people came out to Hamilton Middle School Saturday night for Eli Clark's birthday party. Clark arrived in a limo with paparazzi taking his photos as he made his entrance into the school. The party featured loads of candy, a photo booth, DJ, and inflatables of Eli's favorite emoji, the poop emoji.

Roy Clark, Eli's dad, says the community has had the family's back since the very beginning of the difficult ordeal.

"As hard as it has been to watch him (Eli) go through this it's been equally uplifting to know that there are so many good people in the world," he said.

Roy says his son's 13th birthday was tough because he was in the hospital and only a few adults were allowed in the hospital room during that time. He says this year they wanted to have a big party for him, so they put out a call on social media for party ideas and everyone then stepped in to help.

"People came out of the woodwork to shower this boy with love and we're just so grateful," he said.

Joyce Carter, Eli's aunt, said, "Eli's been through more than what most adults will ever go through in their lifetimes and he has not complained ever, from the vomiting to the surgeries to being on life support 4 times and yet he still puts a smile on his face and has fun with his friends. And every time he meets someone he tells them he loves them."

She thanks everyone who attended the party and who continues to support him.

"And I think from what people tell me as much as it's helped us I think it has helped the community because so many people will stop me and tell me how he's touched them people stop him when he's out with his mom and they'll say how much they love him I've never met you but I love you," Carter said.

Eli will turn 14 on March 7.

UPDATE: 01/21/18 2:30 P.M.

A year ago this month, Eli Clark, 13, was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer. But with a positive attitude and support from people all over the world, he continues to defy the odds.

Roy Clark, Eli's dad, says the past 12 months have been the hardest. After 8 months in the hospital and rounds of treatment, doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do.

Eli returned home to Walker last August and started getting better thanks to homeopathic treatment. Roy says his son has been getting stronger each and every day.

"I always sing," Eli said.

"I sing from the time I get up to the time I go to bed I'm always singing."

"It's emotionally and physically draining and if it weren't for the support of so many people and if it weren't for the grace of God I don't know how we would have made it, Roy Clark said.

Eli is gearing up for his 14th birthday in March. He says everyone is invited. He considers strangers "friends you haven't met yet."

ORIGINAL STORY: 09/15/17 3:46 P.M.

We told you about 13-year-old Eli Clark a few months ago when he had just completed his first round of chemo therapy to treat his brain cancer.

As of Thursday he is back home and defying the odds daily.

Since he has been home, Eli stays busy. Every week, Eli’s parents say they take him to the Belpre hospital for lab work and physical therapy.

He also sees and hears from many with visits from friends and families and opening letters from many supporters.

Since he's been home his family's seen a huge improvement in his strength and spirit.

Eli’s father, Roy Clark, says "He's got 10 thousand people around the world, most of them we don't even know, that are praying for him on a daily basis and showering him with gifts and love and encouragement. We've been working with him every day, doing physical therapy and he walked about 30 feet today and did a little dance half way through his walk there. So he is getting stronger every day."

Eli and his family are making a trip to Disney in the near future through the Make a Wish Organization.

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