Bridget was diagnosed with Pre B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on Sept. 29, 2010. She was 21 months old. The Dr's sent her bone marrow sample off to have a genetics testing done, it came back a week later with not so good news. The genetics came back with an abnormality between chromosome 9 and 11 which is usually found in Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL), which is harder to treat because the cancer cells do not mature they keep reproducing. Bridget went through 8 intense months of chemo. She lost her beautiful brown curls within 45 days after starting the first round of chemo. She has had over 30 spinal taps so far, along with 2 bone marrow aspirations, and a lymph node biopsy. She has had to have several blood transfusions that takes all day long, and she has had to have several platelet transfusions. Bridget goes to clinic once a month now for a chemo infusion and now every three months she has a spinal tap too. She also has to get a drug called IVIG which takes at least 6 hours to get, and she gets that IVIG drug every 4 to 6 weeks and sometimes sooner depending on her counts. Bridget is scheduled to finish treatment January 25th 2013 and will continue to have monthly check ups for till 2014, then it will be every other month for the next year and continue to spread out. We have been truly blessed with the help and support from the community, our community is truly amazing when it come to helping out.
Austin was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia (AML) at nine weeks old. This is a rare diagnosis for a child and this particular cancer is very aggressive. His prognosis was not good. We will never forget hearing the news and the single tear the doctor delivering the news was unable to conceal. We recently heard that one in two survive this disease. We are so very blessed. Austin's treatment included five (multi-drug) rounds of chemo. Each round was, on average, 10 days of chemo followed by 18 days of recovery time. He was in the hospital the entire time, with two separate week-long breaks at home. Other than that, we lived in the hospital and split time between Hunter, our oldest son (4 1/2 at the time) and Austin. We had a lot of people "love us through it." Austin came home when he was about seven months old. We resumed normal life as much as possible. While Austin was in the hospital, his Aunt Karrie started a Light the Night team (benefitting the Leukemia and Lypmphoma Society), called Austin's Warriors. Once we got back to normal life, we joined in those efforts. For the past two years, along with many, many friends, Austin's Warriors have raised almost $10,000 each year. It was important for us to find a way to give back. So many people participated in fundraisers for us while Austin's was in treatment and mom, Natasha, was unable to work (Dad, Patrick had to work to keep the insurance). The medical and other expenses seemed overwhelming, so the fundraisers were a huge stress relief and allowed us to be with and focus on our boys. Since then, we have met other local families and helped them with fundraisers as their child battles cancer. We decided that a better way to spend our efforts would be to create an organization that allowed the money we raise (with YOUR help) to stay here, locally, in order to help other local families.
We know how blessed we are to have our youngest son and also to live in a community that embraces and loves their friends and neighbors as this community does. And so, that is why we are BACK Fighting Cancer, Inc.
In Febuary of 2012, Austin marked three years in remission and in July of 2012, he will turn four-years old.
On June 2011, Corbin went to have a sports physical for school, so he could play football. At his physical, his pediatrician found a lump that she wanted him to have ultrasound, just to rule anything out. The ultrasound was set for June 22nd. The radiologist was concerned at what he was looking at, so Corbin was then referred to a Urologist. On June 24th, two days later, we were at Shands waiting for Dr. Allgood to come in for the exam. Before coming into the exam room, Dr. Allgood had reviewed the scans and determined it was cancer. As Dr. Allgood entered the room, he made small talk, and then told us both that it was cancer. Testicular cancer (mixed germ cell carcinoma, with four types in that one tumor). He was going to do surgery that day to remove the mass. At that point, Corbin's world and ours had been turned upside down. Before we had time to process it all, he had sent Corbin down for more tests, blood work, and then to the hospital for surgery. Four hours after being told the news, Corbin was being taken into surgery.
Three weeks later, Corbin went though more tests and blood work. Everything was looking good, so Dr. Allgood scheduled Corbin to have a lymph node dissection on August 9th 2011. After a five day stay in the hospital, everything was looking good and in September, when we came back for blood work and more tests, we were told all the cancer was gone and the doctor was going to allow Corbin to play basketball.
In November 2011, Corbin began basketball and was having a great season until a Friday in January 2012, the last regular season game before districts. Corbin was hit in the groin area and had to be taken to the ER. A CT scan of his abdomen was done and we were told it was just a hematoma and could go home. Six days later, Corbin was rushed back to the ER where another CT scan was done. We were told he had a blockage in his small intestine and they had to operate immediately to remove scar tissue. After another five days in the hospital, it was time for his six month check-up. Having more scans and blood work, on Febuary 15, 2012, we were told the cancer was back and Corbin needed to start chemo right away. Due to the recent surgery, doctors had to wait and remove the staples and a port had to be placed. Corbin has just finished his 1st cycle of chemo and has three more to go.
Kendall was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage 2 Bulky Cancer on June 9,
2011. Kendall was 15 years old at the time. She didn’t have any of the normal signs of
cancer, no night sweats, weight loss, no nothing. She had been seen by her pediatrician for some heartburn but other than that she was a very active and healthy teenager.
She came to us one Sunday with really bad chest pain we thought it was the heartburn. She rested and it eased off. Later that night she said she had a lump in her neck, which she did have a small one but once again thought it was just nothing. The next day when I picked her up from cheerleading practice her neck was swollen to her shoulder. We went to the ER at North Florida they did x-rays and referred us to an Oncology doctor at Shands because they thought just by looking at the x-rays it was cancer.
On Thursday our greatest fears were confirmed they said “cancer”. The worst thing you can ever here a doctor say about your baby is they have cancer. Kendall was admitted that day and they were giving her chemo on Monday. Because it was a “bulky” cancer they were concerned about her air way. The mass in her chest was taking up 80% of her chest cavity. She had 4 rounds of chemo which were in 21 day cycles. Then they felt the mass wasn’t reacting the way they wanted so they sent us to Jacksonville for Proton Treatment Radiation. She did 17 days strait of radiation.
From day one Kendall was confident that GOD allowed her to have cancer for a reason and that she would be stronger because of it. Kendall continued to go to cheerleading practice and went to football games when she felt up to it (and even when she didn’t). Her hair came out after the first treatment to her this was the hardest thing about cancer. Her strength amazes everyone who has any contact with her. She is truly a blessing to our family and her testimony is wonderful. GOD gets the praise in this story.
Kendall is done with treatment for now; she has no active cancer cells. She still has to go back every three months for test and scans. Her hair is coming back curly (it was strait before) and she is STRONGER THAN CANCER! We are so grateful to the community we live in for the help and support they gave us and are very proud to be part of this mission to give B.A.C.K.