Meet Gold Getter Captain, Wes Chang!
This year for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we interviewed our Gold Getter Captains to learn about their cancer survivor stories. Learn more about how you can help them #MakeItGoldForKids here.
Current Age: 3
Diagnosis: Stage IV high-risk neuroblastoma
Age at Diagnosis: 15 months
Answered by Caroline Chang, Wes’ mother
Q. What is your connection to children’s cancer?
A. In 2010, a good friend’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia (AML). I followed her journey through the difficult treatments and frightening infections that confined her to a hospital room for nearly 7 months straight. I celebrated her remission, and supported my friend’s fundraising efforts for CureSearch and her local hospital. I figured their story would be my connection to childhood cancer. As if, because it happened to my friend, it wouldn’t happen to me.
Well, three years later, it did happen. My youngest child, Wes, at 15 months old, was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the central nervous system. The diagnosis sounded awful when the pediatric oncologist said it, but what was worse was learning about the treatment he would have to undergo in order to beat the disease: chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplant, radiation, and immunotherapy. My husband and I were terrified, but we had no choice but to fight.
We entered a year and a half of treatments and were amazed at how well Wes responded. We were overwhelmed with gratitude for our friends, family, and community supported us through it. Wes is now a healthy 4-year-old today with no evidence of disease! He is currently enrolled in a hopeful relapse prevention trial.
Q. What does Wes enjoy doing for fun?
A. Wes has recently gotten REALLY into superhero action figures! He engages in hours of imaginative play with his “dudes” and we love secretly listening in while he says things like “I’ll get you for this Batman!” Besides superheroes, Wes loves cuddling with our puppy Bodhi and also playing “whistle ball” (wiffle ball) with his older brother and sister.
Q. What does Wes want to be when he grows up?
A. Wes says when he grows up he wants to be “a cleaner.” (This is news to his mother.)
Q. What is Wes’ favorite color?
A. Wes’ favorite colors are blue and yellow.
Q. How does Wes feel when his friends and family come out and support you at the CureSearch Walk and raise awareness for children’s cancer?
A. Wes feels like a star when he is honored in front of friends and family at our city’s annual CureSearch Walk. He also loves visiting with the other cancer fighting friends we have met along our journey. It’s a very special event for our family!
Q. What are you and your family planning to do to celebrate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and #MakeItGoldForKids?
A. Team Wes is kicking off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by working a beverage truck at a local music festival. We will decorate with gold banners and awareness posters, and all wages and tips go to CureSearch. We also plan on turning our older kids’ elementary school gold. There are currently three families at that school with children fighting cancer. Not so rare, is it?
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