Posted: September 22, 2015
7 Months Old at Diagnosis
Knox was as happy as ever. There was no indication that the 7-month-old boy might be sick other than the bump his mother, Alexa, found while changing his diaper. Alexa took Knox to the family’s pediatrician. The doctor suspected the lump might be caused by a hernia or a teratoma. Knox’s doctor ordered an MRI to make sure, which indicated the mass might be cancerous.
After further testing, doctors identified Knox’s tumor as alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. The prognosis for a patient as young as Knox was not good. Survival rates for those under one year are significantly lower than for those of older children.
Knox responded well to the chemotherapy, despite the aggressiveness of his treatment. Knox’s parents, in consultation with his doctors, opted for proton beam radiation to prevent as much damage as possible to surrounding tissues. The high-tech treatments meant travel from their home in Nebraska to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
At MD Anderson, Knox underwent proton radiation treatment five days a week until he had finished all 28 prescribed treatments. Again, Knox thrived. He withstood the daily general anesthesia necessary for keeping him still during his treatments. After almost four months of chemo and radiation treatments, the Lewis family was thrilled to learn that the tumor had shrunk to the point that it was invisible to the naked eye. Knox was finally ready to go home!
Back home, 11-month-old Knox was bubbly and outgoing. He always offered everyone a smile to go along with his big brown eyes. Unfortunately, just nine weeks later, Knox’s cancer returned – even more aggressive than before. He lost his battle with cancer on October 29, 2012 at only 13 months old.
In honor of Knox, the Lewis family is dedicated to giving back to the children’s cancer community. Team “Knox Thomas-RhabdoAngel” continues to walk annually in the CureSearch Omaha Walk to fundraise to help end children’s cancer. In 2014, the team was over 100 strong. You can join Team Knox Thomas-RhabdoAngel at the next CureSearch Omaha Walk, to honor Knox and the Lewis family’s dedication to ending rhabdomyosarcoma and other children’s cancers.
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