Brandon was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on January 4, 2011. He was nine years old at the time. Unbeknownst to him or his family when they woke up that morning, their lives changed forever that day. Hearing a diagnosis of leukemia was indescribably frightening, but fortunately, due to amazing physicians, researchers and charities like St. Baldrick's, such a diagnosis comes with a lot more hope than in years past.
Brandon went into remission within the first month of treatment, but in order to ensure the best possible long term results, his treatment protocol called for over three years and five phases of treatment. The phases varied and all presented different physical and mental challenges for him. Fatigue, hair loss, body aches, nausea, mood swings, weight gain and bloating, and noticeable stalling of his growth. Despite the occasional moments of weakness and reality that can only be expected, he persevered and made every effort to live his daily life these past three years as close to a "normal" childhood as he could.
Of course, like all kids with cancer, Brandon has grown up and matured faster and differently than most kids his age. His lessons in responsibility involve when and how many pills to take each day, planning his meals around the timing of his medication, and learning to manage the emotion and frustration caused by high dose steroids. Through it all, he's remained a straight-A student and has progressed from a white belt to a black belt in Taekwondo all during his treatment.
His last day of chemo was March 25, 2014. Two days later, his dad was a "shavee" for St. Baldrick's and top fundraiser for the Biltmore event in Charlottesville, Virginia, raising money to help other kids who will unfortunately have to deal with the challenges of cancer in the future. St. Baldrick's just made a $50,000 to the University of Virginia Children's Hospital where Brandon receives his treatment, making clear that your donations help globally, but also very locally.
Brandon thanks you for supporting him and the more than 300,000 kids worldwide who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. By sharing the gifts of your time, talent and money with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, you're supporting research to give all kids with cancer a better chance for a cure. Please give today.