Inspiring! Amazing! Magnificent! The superlatives surrounding Mitchell and all kids with cancer are endless!
Mitchell's journey toward recovery began with the first obvious symptoms on 27 December 2013 while on the last day of a ski trip. he had a severe headache followed by vomiting. Within one week, he had two more episodes, with the third resulting in a trip to the emergency room on 3 January 2014. Result - Brain Tumor. Devastating is the word that is used, probably, by all parents in that situation. Indeed it was for Mitchell's parents. Mitchell cried a bit, but not too much as he didn't really understand. Neither did dad, for that matter. The plan was for surgery to remove the tumor five days later, which resulted in a full resection.
Over the next 10 months, Mitchell endured 33 days of Proton Therapy (boy were we lucky that Mitchell was able to get Proton Therapy at one of the eight locations in the United States at that time which was less than 10 miles from home!) and six months of chemotherapy which ended in October 2014. Again, think of those superlatives. The way he endured that treatment was incredible!
For the next two years Mitchell was in remission and undergoing MRIs every three months to ensure no recurrence of the tumor. If you saw him, you would have only known that he is a kid who has undergone such a difficult time by the baseball size bald spot on his head. The area where he had focused radiation still has not, and probably will not, sprouted new hair. That's ok with him. Except for constant rubbing of an itchy head, he doesn't care one iota for the bald spot! (update: no more itching, but he still loves to have his head scratched:-)
While he had to stop competing in Taekwondo sparring (he was a national champion in 2012), he has moved on to tennis and has completed two years of lessons and competition. He also has been learning to shoot competitively in Olympic style shooting! (update: he has not been shooting lately, but still has some interest)
Mitchell, at first didn't want to get the attention to his condition, but as soon as we explained that he could help other kids by raising money to find a cure, he hasn't looked back. On Mitchell's behalf, we all thank you for your support and your donations to this great charity! it is also your support to Mitchell.
January 2018 Update:
Mitchell continues to be in remission. His three years since the completion of treatment came and went with an 'all clear' MRI in December 2017. As a reward, he was placed on a protocol of brain MRI's every six months instead of four months. Mitchell is happy with that.
Mitchell remains incredibly busy with other activities as well. Not only has he continued his tennis but he has increased his percussion. Not only is he in the school jazz band, but he is also in the Bay Youth Concert Orchestra. He will be auditioning for his second year to participate in the Hampton Roads Youth Wind Ensemble, which includes musicians in grades 7-12 and will conclude in June with a wonderful concert. Finally, he has joined a wonderful organization, Tidewater Pipes and Drums. This is a community organization with drummers and bagpipers. The ages range from under 12 to adults of all ages. They perform in multiple venues to include parades such as the Norfolk Christmas Light Ceremony downtown. He was issued his drum in Feb '18 and is now looking forward to receiving his own uniform (with a kilt lol).
While he was told he has to avoid sports that include head contact (hence tennis and shooting), he is still allowed to ski during family vacations twice a year. He loves to go fast! Mitchell is showing interest in coding and is currently learning HTML and is also showing an interest in cyber security. At home, he spends a lot of time on his Legos and iPAD as well as the computer playing games with his brother! Oh, and he loves to sword fight and shoot you with his Nerf guns!
We have just under two years to go to get to the five-year milestone that will proclaim him 'cancer free'. We are so excited by every minute spent with this wonderful boy [almost teenager (actually turns 13 in April)- can you believe it]. He certainly is living life to its fullest!
Mitchell really appreciates all the support he has received and appreciates your donations to this great charity. Thank you so much!