Life had been sailing along quite comfortably for the Yost family, when the day came that our lives were turned upside down. Ten year old Gary complained of shoulder pain after soccer practice. Gary is not a complainer, so we found this somewhat unsettling. We took him to the pediatrician expecting to hear news of a pulled muscle. Following an X-ray to rule out a cracked rib, the doctor told us that Gary had a mass in his chest cavity and he wanted us to head up to Seattle Children’s Hospital immediately. It was 6:30pm on June 25th of 2007. The tests, scans and blood draws began. The scans showed a tumor in Gary’s chest cavity the size of a softball. It was wrapped around three of his ribs and was pressing on his lung. Now only 24 hours after leaving the pediatrician’s office, Gary was admitted to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Unit at Seattle Children’s. Ten months of rigorous chemotherapy, surgeries and countless nights inpatient at the hospital followed this infamous day.
Gary is now 17 years old and a senior in high school. We are thankful to be consumed by graduation and college choices, however, concerns about the extent to which the effects chemotherapy have had on his heart also loom. Unfortunately, childhood cancers do not leave you unscarred or without long-term, life-altering effects. It is our hope that with the financial support of Baldrick’s, therapies that afford childhood cancer patients a better chance at survival and futures that are free from the lasting effects of treatment are on the horizon.