September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today as CURE Childhood Cancer honors Alex. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Alex’s fundraising page.
Alex was just 4 years old when he was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in October of 2012. He had been complaining of leg pain for about a month prior to diagnosis. By the time doctors figured out what was causing the pain, cancer had spread throughout his entire body. Nearly 100% of his bone marrow was affected and he had bony lesions throughout his precious body. He also had a tumor in his abdomen that completely covered his right side. It was wrapped around his aorta and pressing against several major organs. His treatment began immediately at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
The moment you hear that your child has cancer, life as you know it is gone. We were thrust into this world we knew nothing about. We had never even heard the word neuroblastoma before Alex was diagnosed. The doctors were giving us so much information so quickly, but it was hard to process much more than the word “cancer.”
Within 24 hours of diagnosis, we were introduced to CURE. We received a tote from CURE that was filled with various items for our hospital stay along with information that would help us during our journey.
After that initial introduction, their volunteers were always a welcome sight during our long and difficult days both in the clinic and at the hospital. They provided us with weekly lunches and dinners during our visits. They provide the kids with fun activities and gifts to help them forget about what they are going through for a little while. They provided us with smiles when we needed them the most.
In the nearly three years since diagnosis, Alex has faced his treatment (chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplant, radiation, and antibody therapy) like a total warrior. He is now part of a trial, which will hopefully keep him from relapsing. The relapse rate for neuroblastoma is terrifyingly high and the survival rate for relapsed neuroblastoma is even more terrifying. We are extremely fortunate to have Alex here and doing as well as he is. We also understand that Alex will be dealing with the side effects from his treatment for the rest of his life. For now though, he is N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease), and he is a typical, happy 7-year-old boy who loves to swim, play games, and experience childhood with his sisters and friends.
Hopefully, we will be fortunate enough to never experience a relapse, but our lives since Alex’s diagnosis will never be the same. We can’t un-see what we have seen and we can’t un-know all we have learned throughout our journey. No child should have to endure what these children do. No parents should have to say goodbye to their baby. We have to help!
The most alarming thing we have learned is that funding for research in childhood cancer is abysmally low. Organizations like CURE are trying to change that. Even with all they do for families, hospital staff, and patients during treatment, CURE still manages to donate millions of dollars each year to go toward groundbreaking pediatric cancer research.
Please consider donating to CURE in honor of Alex and all of the other warriors and angels who have been affected by cancer. They deserve the necessary research that will help find a cure.