Christian's Story, as told by his parents
In August 2012, our 4-year old son, Christian, was diagnosed with intermediate risk T-Cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and has undergone eight months of high-dose chemotherapy and low-dose cranial radiation at UMass Memorial. We were so thankful that his diagnosis was quick and that his treatment started immediately. Christian reached remission within 15 days of diagnosis and recently began maintenance chemotherapy, which will continue for the next two-and-a-half years.
The oncology/hematology staff at UMass Memorial's Children's Medical Center have become like family to us. The doctors and nurses there treat Christian as if he were their own son, which gives us confidence that they are doing everything possible to aid with his cure. Their attention to his treatments, as well as his emotional well-being guided by the Child Life Program staff, has made the last year easier to handle for us as parents and has resulted in Christian feeling and acting like any other child for his age.
Christian now receives outpatient chemotherapy in the children's clinic at UMass Memorial, where we have been blessed to meet another amazing team of nurses and staff. We have regular visits from our social worker, who is always making sure our whole family is getting the support we need. The nurses there always look forward to seeing Christian and making sure everything is done to make him comfortable. There is no doubt in our minds that we would not have been able to get through the last year without such support from our extended UMass family. Christian is doing amazingly well and we are thrilled that he will be starting kindergarten in the fall and be able to enjoy a normal childhood.
We have created a Walk Team named "Christian's Courage" and will take part in the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk to support the ongoing research and clinical trials program at the UMass Medicine Cancer Center of Excellence. While Christian still has years of treatment ahead of him, we want to begin to give back to the wonderful hospital that has helped our boy and has given us hope that one day he will be cured. It is because of the past cancer research that there is a high cure rate for Christian's form of cancer and that is something that we will never forget.
A donation to Christian's Courage will help all cancer patients diagnosed with and receiving treatment for cancer. Donations to Christian's team can be made at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/christianscourage/15th-annual-umass-medicine-cancer-walk.