Branch teen’s fight against cancer ends

September 3, 2013

Adam Rader spoke during the Relay for Life

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

BRANCH TWP. — A Branch Township teenager ended a nearly two-year fight against cancer Monday, surrounded by his family. For 18-year-old Adam, his journey here on Earth may have ended but the true adventure has only just begun.

“My son was a warrior,” his mother, Ami Jo Voorheis said. “He fought to the end. I will miss him dearly but I know he has no more pain and is with Jesus now.”

Adam’s life changed two years ago when the then-16-year-old was kicked in the stomach by a cow on the family’s farm. At first doctors thought he had just developed pneumonia, but later discovered that he a cancerous mass had formed, pushing major organs, including his heart. He had a rare bone cancer known as Ewings Sacroma.

Earlier this summer Adam was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the Relay for Life at Oriole Field. One could tell this was a man who didn’t let cancer define who he was. Since his October 2011 diagnosis, he and his family made numerous trips to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.

“I went through 31 treatments of radiation and 17 rounds of chemotherapy,” he said at Relay for Life. “I’ve had a bone marrow transplant and surgery to remove the mass. This past January we discovered that the cancer came back and I was back in the hospital. This time it was in my spine. I’ve had 31 more treatments of radiation since then and I’m still going.”

But, for Adam, it wasn’t about the struggle. Instead, it was about spreading the word of Jesus and serving as a role model of faith and strength. In the hospital he would often go around the floor encouraging the other children.

Ami Jo said that Adam was known at the hospital for his smile. “He had a contagious smile, that is what almost everyone said.”

Adam said, during Relay for Life, that his family, friends and church family are what keep him going.

“I am a strong Christian and I am very open about my faith,” he said.

Throughout his valiant fight against cancer, Adam referred to a Bible verse that was revealed to him through prayer: “This sickness will not end in death,” John 11:4.

Indeed it hasn’t. Adam now lives with his heavenly father, cancer free.



Adam Robert Rader, aged 18 of Custer, died peacefully on Monday, September 2, 2013 surrounded by his loving family.  Adam was born on December 29, 1994 in Ludington the son of Ronson and Ami Jo (Chye) Rader.  He attended Mason County Eastern Schools and completed his high school education this year under the guidance of his mother Ami Jo.  Sadly, Adam was preceded in death by his father Ronson in 1998 and his grandfather Ronald Rader last month.

Adam loved to farm and was the self-proclaimed “manager” of their family farm in Branch Township.  He also enjoyed hunting and fishing, cheering for Michigan State, the Tigers and Lions, and playing his guitar.  He aspired to further his education in the field of law or possibly in politics.  As a member of Beacon Ministries, he served as an usher and sound technician, worked in the nursery, and was very active in the church youth group.  Second only to his love for his Lord and Savior, was Adam’s love for his family.

Adam will be greatly missed by his parents Joseph and Ami Jo Voorheis of Custer, his brothers and sisters Autum Rader of Free Soil, Austin Rader and Loren Voorheis of Custer, Kelsey (Derek) Castillo of Fountain, and Reid Voorheis of California serving in the U.S. Marine Corp, his nieces Kaylee Rader and Ava Voorheis, his grandparents Bill and Fran Chye of Fountain, Mike and Lyetta Genung of Custer, Verna Rader of Branch, Elsie Voorheis and Paul Voorheis both of Saranac, his great-grandparents Lyle and Fayetta Griffith, Rose Chye, and Barb Genung all of Custer, and Willadeen Rader of Ludington, and many aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, and numerous cousins.

Funeral services will be held for Adam at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 7 at Mason County Eastern High School with Pastor Tammy Bacon, Pastor Joe Whitaker, and Pastor Shaun Reed officiating.  Burial will follow at Bachelor Cemetery in Fountain. Friends may visit with his family on Friday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. at Beacon Ministries, 4433 N. US 31 Highway, Scottville, and from 10 a.m. until time of services on Saturday at Mason County Eastern.  Those who wish to make memorial contributions are asked to consider the Voorheis family to assist with Adam’s medical expenses.

Funeral arrangements are being cared for by Wyman Funeral & Cremation Services – Stephens Funeral Home in Scottville.



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