No mom should have to hold her child’s hand and tell him that his cancer has returned – after having his kidney removed, undergoing seven days of radiation and getting 25 weeks of chemo treatment.
But that’s exactly the position Stephanie Merfeld found herself in recently. Her son, Adrian, 11, was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumor in October 2011. He immediately underwent extensive treatment. Three months later, his scans were clean. Six months later, tests showed the cancer had returned. Adrian went back on chemo. In March, his tumors had grown despite chemo. He’s undergoing daily radiation, except for weekends, for the next three weeks, Merfeld said.
“It sucks big time and naughty words go through my head all the time. It is what it is, and you put one foot in front of another and you walk,” Merfeld said. “You have to be strong for your kid. It’s scary. I’m scared. I don’t want to lose him.”
Merfeld is determined to keep other families from experiencing what hers has during the past 18 months. On April 11, she’ll go bald to help raise money for childhood cancer research – an area she says is critically underfunded.
“These kids need help, and they need help now,” she said.
You can shave a head and help save lives, too. Join Merfeld and us on our Minneapolis campus on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to help raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, whose mission is to cure childhood cancer. Shavees show their support by shaving their heads voluntarily, and inspiring friends and family to donate money to support childhood cancer. Sign up here.
Video: Dr. Steve Haun, who works in our pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), already shaved his head for St. Baldrick’s. Will you?
Video: Watch last year’s shavees.