Big Kountry Faith, Family, Football, and the Fight for Life

Klint Daniel Harvey has been thwarting everyone’s expectations since day one. 

“I was supposed to be having a 7lb baby girl and was going to name her Candice Dawn, but instead came home with a nearly 9lb baby boy!” recalls his mother Virginia. 

Super Klint 001Harvey who is now 6’7 and 344 lbs and an All-State, All-Conference standout, was nationally recognized by USA Today 2014 American Family Insurance Arkansas Football Team member and one of eleven offensive players around the nation to be honored. Klint not only excels in football, but also in track, capturing the state championship and a state record in the shotput event at the Class 3A State Track & Field Meet in May 2015. Recently, Harvey caught the eye of University of Arkansas Offensive Line Coach Sam Pittman while competing at Razorback camps. Pitmann has high hopes for the polite country boy, which he now affectionately refers to as Big Kountry.  

So it came as no surprise but with much enthusiasm, when the offensive lineman was invited to be a walk-on at University of Arkansas Football Program. His hometown of Corning Arkansas beamed with pride; this is Razorback country after all. 

“They really liked me and sent me tickets to some games and I decided since they had the biggest line in football I wanted to be a part of it.” said Harvey.  

Harvey was one of 80 potential linemen that week and only two were offered a preferred walk on for the season. 

”Coach Pittman said I had an opportunity to be a Razorback, I thought that was awesome! So I took it. I think I can go up there and work harder than someone else and get that scholarship,” said Harvey. 

He hopes that with hard work and determination he can eventually earn a full scholarship to help his family with his educational expenses. 

“You just have to have more heart than the other guy”, sais Harvey.

Heart is something Harvey knows all about, and its not something he gained only from fighting on the field, but from fighting for his life…

Klint and Kyle 001In March of 1998, John and Virginia Harvey had it all. Chasing after their two boys, Kyle 7 and Klint almost 2, life was a joyful melee of chaos and blessings beyond belief.  Little did they know of the challenges they would soon be facing.

 Virginia a homemaker, was at home with Klint and his family friend Sydney Davis, both not even two at the time, because they both were running low grade fevers. Virginia noticed that Klint was the more sluggish of the two. After a trip to a local family practice, they sent him home saying it was just a simple cold. But Virginia knew something more was going on, as days went by little Klint was getting weaker and weaker and began bruising easily. 

John and Virginia decided they had to take their son elsewhere for another opinion. Virginia contacted a local pediatric clinic in Poplar Bluff, Mo.  While at the clinic the pediatrician they were initially referred to was out so Klint was instead seen by Dr. Joseph Fernando.  After a brief examination by Dr. Fernando, he looked into Klint’s eyes and went directly to his abdomen for further examination, his spleen was distended. He explained to the Harvey’s that he needed to do blood work right away. In just a short time Dr. Fernando told the Harvey’s their son’s blood level was dangerously low and that little Klint needed an immediate blood transfusion to help stabilize the young toddler, and that he believed their son had leukemia.  

Within hours, at Dr. Fernando’s request, arrangements were made to take Klint directly to St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

 At St. Jude Klint’s leukemia was confirmed. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of the world’s premier research and treatment centers for childhood cancer. Klint was placed in a Protocol 13 Study of children with leukemia for his treatments. 

Through the countless days and years of treatments, his family and his community were there to comfort him.  The Harvey’s strong faith in God got them through the toughest times of his recovery and is the foundation of their family today.

 Klint would fight for his young life for the next three years, and was on constant chemotherapy throughout the duration.  Klint’s older brother Klye, who was only 7 at the time, would bend over his little brother’s bed and pray that he wished it would have been him that was sick, not his little brother. 

The community support was tremendous, giving not only moral support but helping financially as well. Constant fundraisers and events were held on behalf of the Harvey family to help with their incurring expenses. Bart and Tina White especially were instrumental in implimenting fundraising and awareness during Klints illness.

In the Fall of 2001 their three year storm with cancer finally passed and they were able to begin finding normal again. Klint and his older brother Kyle began to thrive in the years to follow. Both excelling in their own sport forte, Kyle went on to be the star basketball player for Williams Baptist College and actually had a tryout in the summer of 2013 with the Indiana Pacers. Kyle, now a 6’5 forward, presently plays professional basketball in Australia for the Ipswitch Force. 

Klint continued to grow, despite years of chemotherapy, his natural size, strength, agility and flat out drive to exceed expectations has brought him to a place that at one time seemed impossible. 

“Harvey has all the tools, size, strength and good work ethics you need to excel. It’s all a mindset thing with him.”  said Harvey’s former high school football Coach Chuck Speer. 

Harvey’s future with Razorbacks looks bright and with determination he is set to excel.Klint, Virgina, John 001 (1)

 “We couldn’t be more proud of our boys and all of their accomplishments” relishes John, ”but above all, it is their faith in God that is their most enduring accomplishment.” 

– By Cindy Davis 

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