September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 9, 2009 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Isaac del Valle. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Isaac’s Fund.
Isaac del Valle’s Story:
They tell me today is a day of celebration but I don’t feel like celebrating. Isaac is lying in a hospital bed recovering from his port removal surgery. His chemotherapy treatments are over THANK GOD and we begin life after cancer. I feel blessed to be where we are but what I have watched my son endure over these last 3 ½ years has left scars.
On March 1, 2006 Isaac was diagnosed with ALL-Tcell leukemia. Because of his age, diagnosis, and initial response to chemo, he was classified as a high risk for relapse. He immediately began his 3 ½ year treatment protocol – one year of intense chemo and 2 ½ years of maintenance chemo. He was 10 years old at the time and in the middle of fourth grade.
I could list all the horrendous side affects of chemo Isaac experienced, but Isaac prefers I not share them. No child should experience being that sick. No ten year old should ever have to ask their Mom if they’re going to die.
Isaac journaled his cancer experience with a program through AFLAC called Beads of Courage. With each procedure or milestone during treatment he got a special bead. These beads are not given out lightly. You earn a bead for such things as bone marrow biopsies, chemo infusions, trips to the ER, ect…
Isaac has earned 854 beads – 646 of them his first year of treatment. He has 4 beads for bone marrow biopsies. For his first one he couldn’t be sedated because he had swollen lymph nodes around his heart. He sat up in the hospital bed and held my hand while Dr. Bergsagel took bone marrow from his hip and then did a spinal tap. Three other nurses stood to the side to hold him down if needed – it wasn’t needed.
He has 150 beads for chemo drugs and infusions, 205 beads for IV starts, blood draws, injections and port accesses and 17 beads for emergency room trips. He has 10 glow in the dark beads for cranial radiation treatments, 3 beads for surgeries and 24 beads for spinal taps.
Isaac has 14 beads for MRIs, CAT scans and X-rays. Because of the steroids he took as a chemo drug the tops of Isaac’s bones in his shoulders, hips, knees, pelvis and ankles have deteriorated. At times this is painful for him. We’re hoping they will heal themselves but we don’t know.
He has 49 beads for round the clock antibiotic infusions he received when he ran a fever but had no immune system to fight off infections. He has 35 beads for blood product transfusions which he is allergic to. Towards the end of the first year of chemo his body attacked platelets. He spent 17 days in the hospital randomly bleeding and not being able to stop easily.
He has one purple heart bead for the completion of therapy!
There are no words to describe how proud I am of my son for the strength, grace and courage he has shown during these years. The impact of our son being diagnosed with cancer has affected everyone in our family and I’m sure it will continue to affect our lives for many years to come.
Only through research will the protocols continue to change improving the overall chances of survival while lessening the damaging effects of the toxic chemo drugs and one day a cure will be found. That will be a great day of celebration!
About September & CURE’S Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time:
September is recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This September, CURE Childhood Cancer has committed to raising awareness and raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer in our lifetime and put an end to this terrible disease through a special program CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time!
Please help us in our goal of raising $30,000 in the month of September while honoring special CURE kids each day of the month who have been affected by childhood cancer.
For more information, please click here.
About CURE Childhood Cancer:
Founded in 1975, CURE Childhood Cancer is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through research, education and support of patients and their families. Since its establishment as a grass-roots organization, CURE has focused its efforts on improving the care, quality of life, and survival rate of children with cancer.
The founders, parents and a dedicated pediatric oncologist, joined forces to support laboratory research that would translate into immediate care for children with cancer.
Since that time, CURE has raised millions of dollars to fund cutting edge research at the Aflac Cancer Center Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.
Through innovative programming, CURE also provides support for stricken families, providing them comfort and support during their time of devastating need.
Donate to Isaac’s Fund
Visit us online at www.curechildhoodcancer.org for more information.