CureSearch for Children's Cancer funds and supportstargeted and innovative children's cancer research with measurableresults, and is the authoritative source of information and resourcesfor all those affected by children's cancer.
In September of 2006, while in kindergarten, Alan began to have excruciating headaches and nosebleeds. What was initially treated as severe sinus infections was later found to be symptoms of leukemia. Alan was diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) in November 2006 and immediately began treatment to eradicate the disease. The caring and gifted staff at Scottish Rites AFLAC cancer and blood disorders center became extended family members as he began his three year journey to survive cancer.
The first six months of treatment were intense. Alan was receiving a treatment each week via a port in his chest, a sedation treatment spinal tap monthly and taking daily medications. All of these carried a side effect that often slowed down his once active body to just sleep. The little boy who was often seen with some type of ball - football, basketball or baseball - in his hand was sporting a baseball cap to cover his bald head from the sun and often times onlookers. Alan had transformed before the family, still tiny but with chubby cheeks, a big stomach and glassy eyes that reflected what his days had become - a new day of hope, taking one step at a time.
After two months of treatment, Alan was able to return to school. This became a frustrating area for Alan because he was full of energy and able to endure the school day. The medication made him exhausted achy, sick and tired most of the time and his memory fuzzy. He would know the answer to something, it would be in his head, but he would not be able to retrieve it. The side effects of the chemo caused that and resulted in many days in class and at home with Alan in tears. There were also bouts with his body - his joints, especially knees, resulted in a few hospital stays for infections and a year-long struggle with ring worm after a teammate mistakenly put on his hat.
Today, Alan is a 57 month cancer survivor and enters 5th grade this fall. He completed his treatment in July 2010 and continues with follow up treatment every 3 months at the AFLAC Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Clinic at Scottish Rite. Eventually, he will participate in the aftercare program. Last fall, Alan participated in his first year of football. He had a blast and decided he needs to put on some pounds and grow a few inches before he suits up again. Alan plans to focus on basketball and baseball in the meantime and will cheer his older brothers on as they play football.
Alan and his family continue to work towards awareness of childhood cancer and contributed a chapter in a book called Inside Childhood Cancer. While grateful and humbled by the support, care, and hope Alan received, there is still so much more to be done. Awareness and research is only the beginning until a cure is found.
Shelby GosnellCommunications Manager Email Shelby(240) 235-2205