Our son Steven was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia when he was 8 years old. Our healthy, athletic second child of four children felt ill at a local summer day camp.
We took him to the doctor thinking he may have strep throat but when the doctor saw red dots on his chest they did an immediate blood draw and sent us to the Pediatric Cancer Center. The next 9 months was like living on a terrifying roller coaster ride. Our world had suddenly been shattered but Steve was determined and our whole family was determined to beat this terrible disease. We were lucky to find out early in this journey that Steve’s four year old sister, Becky, was a perfect bone marrow donor match. After doing initial chemo, Steve had a bone marrow transplant, reached remission and left the hospital.
Not long after, however, an infection developed in Steve’s lungs and he eventually ended up in a drug induced coma for 3 weeks in the PICU. Steve had to relearn how to walk again. Recovery was slow but he worked hard and did it! We spent most of our time inpatient and he was a trooper. Always cheerful and silly, playing games, trying to do homework so he wouldn’t fall behind, even when he wasn’t feeling well.
Unfortunately, Steve relapsed. After an additional stem cell transplant from Becky, Steve developed a staph infection he could not beat. Our family was devastated. We continue to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research in the hope that no child and no family will have to endure the pain and loss we have. We also do this to keep Steve’s spirit alive as we remember his silly ways, his enthusiasm for sports and fun, and his love of family and friends.