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Our son's story:
Colton was diagnosed with the most common form of childhood cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on December 10, 2020 at just 14 months old. After he began having fevers on and off, low appetite and one unusually cranky day, the new walker stopped walking entirely and was brought early the next morning to Rady Children’s Hospital, where after a quick blood test was immediately diagnosed with ALL, news so unexpected it was outside the realm of a worst nightmare. His first treatment started the day after diagnosis in the PICU where he remained for 3 days before being transferred to the Hematology/Oncology unit. Colton and his parents spent the next 4 weeks and all of the winter holidays inpatient receiving life-saving treatment before getting discharged to be treated on a more outpatient basis where he is being treated now. The Rady Children’s team at the Peckham Center made Colton and his parents feel like family while there for the hardest weeks of their life and it didn’t feel like they were missing out on anything (other than sleep) being away from home, while at the very best place in town to heal!
A diagnosis that was untreatable and devastating just over 50 years ago, is now highly treatable thanks to funding and research in childhood cancer as well as huge advances in supportive care, each child’s life saved from cancer is worth more than gold in years of life added! Colton is now in remission, like most kids like him, but the road to a hopeful future cure for ALL is a long one and he will be treated with Chemotherapy at Rady Children’s for about 2.5 years total.
While he has persevered through it all these last 9 months with a huge smile, loads of energy, lots of normal toddler milestones and the best attitude, it has not been easy as his weeks have consisted of weekly IV chemo, pulses of steroids, more than a dozen lumbar punctures procedures, oral chemo pills, twice daily blood thinning injections, 17 blood transfusions, liver disease and about 9 planned and unplanned inpatient hospital stays, and many of the side effects that go along with the treatment.
Colton loves anything with wheels, music, naming colors, his dog, his nurses and the amazing supporting staff at Rady Children’s that have helped make this unimaginable time full of so many good moments and so much hope!