Infant Leukemia (pre-B cell ALL with mll gene mutation)
Date of Diagnosis
Strong Memorial Hospital
Willem was the toughest little guy with a smile that would melt your heart. He suffered a lot during his short life but you never would have known it with that beautiful smile and big brown eyes that spoke volumes. He most likely developed his disease in utero so he struggled from day one until we were miraculously able to get him into remission at about 3 1/2 months of age. The treatment took a toll on his little body too but the minute he felt even 10% better he would be laughing and playing with his crinkly books and his cha cha turtle. He was truly an inspiration and his magnetic personality would literally have the nurses lining up for their Willem fix.
Willem was able to survive through 3 phases of chemo over the course of 4 months, a pre-conditioning treatment for a Bone Marrow Transplant and 40 days in the BMT unit with minimal (by hospital standards) complications from the transplant. Truly amazing for a baby less than 9 months old; he was a fighter and we all fought hard alongside him. Unfortunately, the cancer won and only a week after discharge from the BMT unit he relapsed with no further treatment options available. This horrible rare disease he had took his life when he was only 8 1/2 months old but it did not take his spirit. He touched many lives in a short amount of time and that was his gift. I cannot describe it exactly, it was just Willem's Way.
Please visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/willembolan to see more
of our Willem.