8 Weeks Old at Diagnosis
Our journey with cancer began when Preston was only 8 weeks old. He had a fever, and we noticed a hard area in his scrotum so we took him to see his pediatrician. The doctor felt a mass in Preston’s abdomen and sent us immediately to the emergency room at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital. There he was diagnosed with stage III, intermediate risk neuroblastoma.
Preston’s cancer treatment started with chemotherapy, which shrunk his tumor. We were surprised by and thankful for his incredible response to the chemo. He then had an aggressive surgery, which removed the remaining tumor but resulted in the loss of his left adrenal, left kidney, and left testicle.
Although Preston had a difficult start to life, today he is a happy, sweet, and silly four-year-old boy. His favorite shows are “Transformers Rescue Bots” and anything with superheroes. He has a great imagination and really enjoys playing with Matchbox cars and action figures. Preston has fun at preschool being with his friends and doing painted art projects. Preston is an incredibly affectionate boy who knows he is loved by his family.
Because of our experience with cancer, we realize that each new day is a gift. Knowing children who have not survived has impacted us the most. Our biggest challenge is living with a real fear of childhood cancer – not just for Preston but for all children who are diagnosed. Our biggest triumphs have been turning this fear into action by supporting childhood cancer research. Research is the only way to cure more children and to give survivors healthy lives. We are also pleased that Preston is currently participating in biology and treatment studies. This brings us hope to think that his data and diagnosis might help other children someday.
We support CureSearch so that one day all children diagnosed with cancer will be guaranteed a cure and survivors will have the healthiest lives possible. To date, our family has participated in four CureSearch Walks in Charlottesville, VA. Preston has a CureSearch medal for every year of his life! We are truly grateful to be able to continue the fight against childhood cancer year after year, thanks to the generosity of our friends, family, and community. Our daughters’ school did a Sock it to Cancer campaign this year in support of our Walk team. The students really took it to heart, and several mothers told us how their children emptied their piggy banks to help.
Children diagnosed with cancer need our help. As we have seen with our Walk team, when many people come together in support of children’s cancer, we are able to make a real impact. A monster called cancer lived inside of our son when he was a baby. Without the benefit of research and proper treatment the monster would have taken his life. Supporting CureSearch empowers families through education and saves precious lives through research.
Kelley and James Mayson
Parents of Preston, Survivor
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