The Children's Hospital of PhiladelphiaThe Children's Hospital at Saint Peter's University Hospital
Wyatt was 22 months old when we realized his belly felt unusually firm. February 6, 2011, Superbowl Sunday, we decided to take him to the ER. Wyatt wasn’t exhibiting any other symptoms. He was happy and VERY active. Tests soon reveled he had a softball-sized tumor in his liver – a hepatoblastoma. Our lives came crashing down around us. The next six months of our lives would prove to be dark and painful. Wyatt endured unspeakable pain from chemotherapy. If there was a side effect to any drug, Wyatt experienced it. We were told his treatment could cause hearing loss, secondary cancer and an inability to walk. As his treatment progressed his tumor began to dramatically shrink. He began handling his chemo with a little more ease, though the side effects were still wearing on him. We were enthusiastic about his prognosis. Shortly after his 4th round of chemo, we learned that his tumor had wrapped around major vessels in the liver. Surgeons would be unable to remove it. Our only option left was more chemo and a liver transplant. Eight days after being placed on the donor list, Wyatt received his new liver. Two more rounds of chemo later he was in complete remission.
Today Wyatt is a typical, HEALTHY and happy little boy who soaks up everything life has to offer. Every check-up brings us that much closer to the coveted “Cancer Free” diagnosis. In the meantime, we can’t help but feel eternally grateful to researchers and organizations like St. Baldrick’s. More than one doctor told us that, if Wyatt had been born 20 years ago, he would have almost certainly succumbed to this disease. We have come so far in such a short amount of time. I have to believe that we are close to a cure and perhaps even prevention for childhood cancer. I look forward to that day; a day when parents no longer have to live in fear of losing their precious children; a day when children no longer have to angst over their next check up or pending lab results. Please join us in finding that answer; we simply cannot do it without you.
The Childhood Cancer Ripple Effect
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