Childhood Cancer - Through Blood, Dirt, Bone, Muscle, Tragedy and Hope (Awareness Month Special)


Last year, I made my personal favorite post on this website. And by favorite, it was a testament to the amount of work I tend to contribute to the site. I went on and decided to write on Childhood Cancer, as I was a budding advocate and felt determined to get the message out to people, intending to get attention onto the topic and see if any impact to the audience.

I'm back to deliver another post based on Pediatric Cancer. I've found more fighters, survivors and angels, and from the time-frame between the present (during the time of writing this) and the previous year, events have played out. By events, we've had annual endeavors like CureFest on Washington and events hosted by parents who've had children whom were diagnosed. Its a long, strenuous struggle, but its one of the ultimate signs of perseverance if you ask me. You don't get to see that very often, and honestly, seeing a kid go through so much pain is gut-wrenching, but its a benchmark example of what an inspiration can be. That kind of stuff is what should drive people to think more and work harder.

Likewise, I'll toss in some Pediatric Cancer examples as this post is a learning exercise for good intentions.

  • Neuroblastoma - Neuroblastoma occurs in select types of nerve tissues and is formed as neuroblasts, a type of of nerve cell. Neuroblastoma can be found in adrenal glands most commonly, but also includes neck, chest, abdomen and spine. There are several stages of Neuroblastoma; Stage IV is where the cancer becomes life-threatening. Neuroblastoma is the most common form of cancer found in children younger than Age 5 and the third most common in children overall, following Leukemia and Brain Cancer.

  • Ewing's Sarcoma - Ewing's Sarcoma is situated around bones or tissues surrounding the bones. It most commonly inhibits on the legs, pelvis, arms, ribs and spine. The symptoms found in Ewing Sarcoma's include bone pain, tender lump or swelling, high temperatures, fatigue and weight loss. Additional affects also cause a patient's bones to be brittle and easily breakable. The age group in Ewing's Sarcoma ranges from children to young teenagers.

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) - ALL is the most common form of cancer found within children. They originate as a variant of white blood cells situated in the bone marrow, before expanding towards the blood stream. Symptoms associated with ALL include dizziness, frequent fever and tiredness, anemia, bone/joint pain and random bruises. The most common treatment for ALL is chemotherapy, in an attempt to help the patient in being in remission followed by continuous chemotherapy. In addition, Immunotherapy is being considered for use. The overall survival rate for ALL is around 90 - 93%.

  • Supratentorial Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor (sPNET) - sPNET is a aggressively infectious natural crest tumor that resides on the cerebrum. As a result, the symptoms revolve seizures, lack of sleep, unexplained wight loss and a alteration in a patients habits and personality. The cancer spreads through three different means; Tissue, Lymph System and Blood. The name is derived from the fact that the majority of the cells formed from sPNET comes from neuroectoderm, though there is little-to-no development compared to a normal neuron, hence the term "primitive" and is examined via CT scans for image taking and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) via gadolinium for more detailed images focused on the brain and spinal chord areas. sPNET is treated via surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy and the survival rate is estimated to be around 53%.

  • Astrocytoma - Astrocytoma originate from star-shaped cells called astrocytes. Astrocytes make up for the supporting tissues of the brain. The threat of Astrocytoma varies, depending on a scale of I to IV to determine the abnormality of the Astrocytoma. By Stage IV, an Astrocytoma would have mutated into Glioblastoma. Astrocytoma spreads throughout the brain, brain stem and spinal chord sections and symptoms include a loss of appetite, vomiting, mood/personality change, seizures and blurred vision. The treatment focuses on surgery, radiotherapy, and adjuvant temozolomide, but the overall procedure depends on how much an Astrocytoma has spread and enlarged in a patient.

Also, I wouldn't make a post about this if there wasn't the examples of patients. Some of these children may be one of the most wondrous, endearing and persevering you'll hear about.

  • Lilly Bumpus - Lilly was born with Ewing's Sarcoma and began treatment by the time she was three months old. She received about 75% of adult-based chemotherapy to prevent the cancer within her chest from spreading ultimately having about 14 rounds and 8 surgeries, one of which involved extracting a piece of her chest wall out. In a heartwarming conclusion, Lilly was declared cancer-free and would go on to become a cancer advocate herself, despite being 6 years old. Her experience has led to kickstart a Fundraising organization named after Lilly, and she would also make friends with several other cancer patients around her age. In addition, she co-wrote a book with her mother, titled "Through the Glass".

  • Chris Poulin Jr. - Chris Jr. was the survivor of a house fire that destroyed his family home and injuring his handicapped older sister. 2 months later, he was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma, which may have been influenced by the house fire beforehand. These two events occurred after Chris Jr. lost a cousin, Kaydin to a rare form of Leukemia. Chris Jr. was admitted to about 2 surgeries, 6 rounds of chemotherapy and blood and platelet transfusions. He would later travel to Boston for a stem cell transplant. Successfully, Chris Jr. persevered and has been in remission since.

  • Abriel "Abri" Bentley - Abri was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma when she was 7 years old, the cancer surfaced under her left leg. She underwent a series of treatments, such as 17 rounds of chemo, injection shots and blood and platelet transfusions. During this time, Abri was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to miss out an entire school year to focus on her treatment and recovery. Removing the tumor in her leg meant that Abri had to have her whole tibia extracted and replaced with a cadaver bone. Ultimately overtime, Abri was declared NED (No Evidence of Disease), though her left leg, having went through a lot of stress and treatment, hindered Abri from fully being able to run and dance, the latter of which was her favorite activity. Later on, Abri would have her cadaver bone removed, though it resulted in concerns that her cancer was back. Luckily enough, this was revealed to be misinformation, meaning Abri was still NED. Eventually, she made the decision to amputate her left leg in the hopes of being able to properly run and dance like she wanted to, prior to her cancer diagnosis. Currently, Abri is seeking to pursue a dance career and has become an ambassador to the Dance Hope Cure organization and is affiliated with The Truth 365, in the hopes of advocating and spreading the importance and awareness of Pediatric Cancer.

  • Logan Asher Kinkin - Logan was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) in January 2016. Unfortunately, just shortly after the diagnosis, the cancer spread very widely, disabling him the ability to carry out functions such as running, walking, eating and playing. While DIPG averages an estimate of about 9-12 months left to live, Logan passed away in March 20th, only 7 weeks after diagnosis, due to how malignant and fast the cancer spread. Logan passed just a month shy of his 5th birthday, surrounded by his family. Despite his short life and struggle, Logan’s struggle has made a lasting influence among the Pediatric Cancer community, and his parents and two sisters are determined to honor and recall their memory with him. Logan also had a brother who passed away before he was born.

  • Braylen Parks - Braylen was diagnosed with Autism at age 2. In November 2016, he was diagnosed with Hypodiploid Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). He was recommended by doctors to be given a Bone Marrow Transplant, which he underwent in January 2017. During this time, he had to be treated with full-body radiation and chemotherapy, before receiving new cell for his bone marrow donor in March and being able to walk out free. In April 5th, two days before his 6th birthday, he was confirmed to be Cancer-Free.

  • Achilles "Killy" Budgen - Killy is fighting against two different types of brain cancer; Glioblastoma Multiforme and Anaplastic Astrocytoma, diagnosed in 2013 and 2014 respectively. He is also diagnosed with Autism and ADHD, and the toll of having two brain cancers is causing Killy to gradually lose his eyesight. He currently plans to visit notable landmarks around the US before he completely goes blind, to which supporters are eager to give contribution to.

  • Cecilia "Ceci" Amelia Gonzalez - Ceci was diagnosed ALL Leukemia in May 17, 2016. After some rounds of chemotherapy, Ceci was declared NED, though she still needed chemo treatments up until September 2018. She began to recover thanks to receiving additional aid and maintenance, until health complications began to rise on July 15th, 2017, forcing Ceci to undergo 10 intubations/extubations while also fending off three viruses, respiratory distress which caused heart problems and three cases of pneumonia, all within 3 weeks. She had to be admitted to an E-coil for physical stability as Ceci would struggle with stomach cramps without it. Ceci stayed in hospital for 96 days, leaving on October 18th, and returning on November 24th with a tracheotomy and gastrotomy. The situation worsened two days later with Ceci having a brain stroke due to bleeding from the tracheotomy and rendering her in a coma, in addition to infections around the blood, kidney, liver, gall bladder, lungs and heart. She passed away on December 5th at age 4. During her fight against ALL, Ceci met and befriended Lilly Bumpus, her experience being a staple point of inspiration for the Team Lilly Foundation.

  • Isabella "Bella" Muntean - Bella was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma brain cancer in January 2016 and fought against it for two years before passing away in April 6th 2018. As the cancer spread up to her lungs, she was only given an estimate of 20% chance of survival. She underwent chemotherapy and surgery in an attempt to remove a section of tumor and bone in her leg. She was declared NED in February 2017, but the cancer soon resurfaced as new tumors start appearing on her lungs and liver. At one point, she coughed out bits of her bronchial tube, causing internal pain. Because there was no further treatment available, Bella was sent to hospice care and died peacefully months later surrounded by her family. During this time, she started a charitable organization called Angels of Hope to raise awareness and discover more children fighting cancer, like Bella was, in addition to be a very willing contributor for community services, eventually becoming listed as 1 out of 10 students out of a thousands, in the Upstate Parent Program Magazine of '1 to 10 Students Who Make a Difference, based on efforts directed towards community services and raising $600 for a local boy’s wish to visit Legoland for his Make-A-Wish dream. Bella was also a massive fan of the American Girls doll merchandise, and would often post about her collection, as shown in her Instagram posts. Her action in the Angels of Charity Foundation led Bella to be awarded the “Prudential Spirit of Community Service Award” on a bronze medallion and was acknowledged in another award by President Trump.

  • Hayes Kyle Tate - Hayes, whom was a triplet sibling, was diagnosed with what was thought to be a virus by doctors. After more checkups, it was discovered that Hayes, in fact, had a Choroid Plexus Carcinoma, a rare and aggressive type of cancer and by January, the tumor had enveloped about 1/3 of Hayes’s brain. He began a series of treatments on January 31st, 2015, ranging from 6 rounds of chemo to stem cell transplant. He was declared cancer-free on July 5th, 2016 and proved to be the center-point for his family of 8. He began to feel ill again, and after a CT scan and MRI and a minor surgery on November 5th, it was discovered that Hayes’s cancer had relapsed, and that there was no more treatment left available. He breathed his last on December 3rd, followed by his funeral three days later. In his memory, the HayesTough organization was formed by his parents Steve and Savanna, whose goal is to raise awareness and financial funding for Pediatric Cancer, and to kickstart a movement to inspire and motivate people to advocate. Steve and Savanna have also written a book detailing Hayes's life and struggle entitled "The 20 Month Old Legend".

  • Kaelyn Hazelwood - Kaelyn was only 4 months old when she was diagnosed with Choroid Plexus Carcinoma in August 2015. She went through 6 chemo sessions and an 11 hour long surgery to have the tumor removed. She was declared NED on March 18th, 2016 and has been living a healthy life, though she continues to get check-ups and sessions regarding her health. Kaelyn’s mother has bought it herself to raise awareness on Pediatric Cancer via events and her Instagram account, which is centered around on Kaelyn’s life and struggle.

In a related news, earlier in May 2018, it was announced that the Childhood Cancer STAR Act was passed and approved by the government. Overall, this was a good landmark moment for the year as it meant that was acknowledgement given out and that children with cancer would be taken more seriously. More recently, the overall funding has now increased from 3.8 to about 7%. It may be a small increase, but its a start, and after all, every little helps. In all this benefit, we might be able to allow for new treatment methods, expanded aid and improved quality for diagnosed children.

I also need to add in that just because someone is cancer-free does not mean an individual is safe. In the case of Childhood Cancer, the lack of substantial funding means that outdated treatments such as chemotherapy have been used for years. Sure it's built to weaken cancer cells, but there's the unfortunate backup in causing side-effects that could damage a person's physical body to varying levels. At its worst, it could result in death after a prolonged period. I have mentioned earlier that only three drugs were made that were focused on Pediatric Cancer and I think I wanted to add more onto this with a statement based on why new treatment is important. The fact that we're using impractical treatment is very daunting and problematic in securing a proper future for a budding life, and this needs to be taken into consideration in regards to mortality.

Its been an educational ride for me, but I have to say while I had to read and scroll through a massive series of tragic, bittersweet and joyous moments, this has been one of the most meaningful topics I've gone through, and its also an important one to boot. Like I always say, Childhood Cancer needs more notice and funding support, and I am impressed to see that since my last post, there has been a significant improvement going on in the recognition part.

And I'll conclude it right here. Life the previous post, this one's aim is to once again, educate a reader about Pediatric Cancer and to give you a demonstration of what some kids can go through. I hope people can learn from this post and begin to advocate for Childhood Cancer. Its a really long and hard road ahead, but to be a part of a dedicated and strong unity, there is a very meaningful worth to it.

And by the way, the name inspiration is from the song "Through Blood, Dirt and Bone" by Trivium.

Thanks for reading. Also, there's other topics I'd like to plunder onto, so stay tuned ;).


Excellent post 20/10. - visitor

Absolutely remarkable, and truly well earned post, great successor to last year. - htoutlaws2012

Man, this sounds like a medical journal article! Very impressive post. - Metal_Treasure

Nice post

Also please turn dms on - ALILBIGGER