Alex’s cancer fight continues
Alex is your typical 11-year-old boy, he loves sports and being active with friends. He’s always up to something – whether that’s playing outside with his buddies, enjoying all of Minnesota’s lakes or hanging out with his sisters and bulldog. You’d never guess Alex has had cancer, twice.
In 2012, when Alex was only 2 years old, he started to get sick on and off and his family just couldn’t beat it. He had nose bleeds so regularly that his mom, Lindsey, made an appointment with his pediatrician. The day of the appointment, Alex’s nose was bleeding and wouldn’t stop. Lindsey called his pediatrician to see what to do. Their response: Take him to Children’s Minnesota immediately.
Alex’s first cancer diagnosis
At the Children’s Minnesota emergency room, they ran Alex’s blood count and realized something was seriously wrong. He was admitted so they could run additional tests and find out the underlying problem.
“The next day, Alex had a bone marrow biopsy and it was confirmed he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia,” said Lindsey.
A cancer diagnosis is no easy feat for a family to process. “As you can imagine, our world was turned upside down,” said Alex’s dad, Jeff.
Lindsey and Jeff chose to bring Alex to Children’s Minnesota because of our experts in pediatric oncology, but they quickly realized there’s so much more to Children’s Minnesota.
The Children’s Minnesota experience
“It is extremely difficult and heartbreaking to go through your child’s cancer diagnosis. And it impacts not just the child going through it, but all of the siblings and entire family,” Lindsey said.
Like all patients in the Cancer and Blood Disorders Program, Alex and his family benefited from the Cancer Kids Fund. A dedicated child life specialist, meal and parking vouchers, and visits from the Zoomobile helped Alex feel like a kid amidst his unexpected diagnosis.
“We were so grateful to our team of care providers at Children’s Minnesota, the child life specialists that really helped us to live as normal of a life as we could throughout the cancer journey,” said Lindsey. “It was important to still see Alex, and his sisters, as a kid, to get him back to his activities like playing hockey and to find the joy in our everyday life.”
Alex’s second cancer diagnosis
Following treatment for ALL, Alex was deemed cancer-free until June 2018, when the family received a devastating diagnosis of secondary acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
“We were extremely surprised and devastated by Alex’s secondary AML diagnosis in 2018 as it is such a rare occurrence, so we were completely caught off guard,” said Lindsey.
Alex had a lump on the side of his neck so they brought him in to see his pediatrician. They found out he had strep but, they also wanted to check his blood count numbers. Unfortunately, the numbers had not returned to normal. So, Lindsey and Jeff took Alex back to their oncology team at Children’s Minnesota for additional tests.
Alex underwent a bone marrow biopsy which confirmed he had leukemia again. But this time it was AML.
Lindsey said, “Our team of oncologists supported us in researching the best treatment plan and instilling the confidence that Alex can in fact beat this again.”
And that’s exactly what happened.
Today, Alex is a happy 11-year-old boy living his life to the fullest. He is done with his chemotherapy. He had a successful bone marrow transplant two years ago and is doing great to this day!
Lindsey and Jeff are extremely grateful for the impact Children’s Minnesota has made on their family. Today, they give back to Children’s Minnesota in many ways to show their support and love for this organization.
“But, you know, even when you’re going through that, the doctors and nurses and surrounding staff [at Children’s Minnesota] give you confidence that, we can. We can tackle this. We can overcome this,” said Jeff. “We’ll make it work. We’ll save his life a couple of times if we have to.”
The cancer journey can be very difficult. But Alex and his family wanted to help make it easier for patients and their families experiencing what they went through. Their gift to the Cancer Kids Fund is helping families with life-changing services not covered by insurance.