I got to spend an amazing day with a beautiful family. Here's a bit of our day, and below some of their story:
Last fall, Dominick, the oldest of 4 kids, was busy playing football. It's what he did when he wasn't busy with wrestling season. But then he wasn't feeling the greatest. Doctors thought it was mono for a while, but after he wasn't getting better, more tests were run.
Dominick was soon diagnosed with T cell A.L.L. (acute lymphoblastic leukemia).
The great news is that Dominick is responding to treatment. Because leukemia is in your blood they treat it very aggressively with chemo therapy and try to get remission after 30 days. Dominick made it at 90 days. They determine this with bone marrow biopsies. They, then, continue weekly chemos (sometimes multiple chemos) for 9 mths to a year. This includes intrathecal chemo (spinal taps and spinal injections) to treat his brain and spinal fluid, even though he was lucky and currently does not have the cancer there, they still treat it.
After the first year of front-line, he then starts long term maintenance. This is 2 1/2 years of monthly IV and IT chemo therapy and daily pill chemo at home. Dominick's treatment end date is scheduled for 1-12-2020.
Dominick is considered intermediate risk due to his higher age and slow remission. His team has told us a cure rate of 80% and a relapse rate of 20%.
His mom, Elizabeth said it best when she stated, "Those are good odds! However, think about having a birthday party for your child and 9 friends, knowing that 2 of those children won't be attending for the next years birthday party......"
So please, watch this video and keep the Albrecht family -- especially Dominick in your thoughts.
If you feel moved to do so, and are able, a donation to St. Baldrick's Foundation is an incredible way to lend support. Elizabeth taught me that, "Our government only allocates 4% of cancer funds/research to pediatric cancers. This is why most children are taking chemotherapy drugs meant for adults. Many children die of complications from treatment, not the cancer itself. We need different therapies made for pediatric patients!"
This is an additionally tragic aspect of childhood cancer that I had no idea about, and makes my hands feel much less tied when diagnoses like Dominick's are given.