Thatcher loves his sister, adores his toys, is learning to swim, and always wants to help around the house. He is the epitome of perseverance and joy. Thatcher was diagnosed just over five years ago with Medulloblastoma at age two. After a major surgery, six months of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, his family hoped he was in the clear. The cancer came back seven months later, followed by another four months of heavy chemotherapy.
Knowing that radiation might be the last proven treatment to stop the cancer, the goal was to hold off until age five to lessen the detrimental cognitive effects of radiation during those crucial developmental years. After over a year on anti-angiogenic metronomic chemotherapy, and now at age six, Thatcher underwent six weeks of radiation. Still needing surgery and a stem cell rescue to help recover from the devastation radiation had on his body, he championed through 12 cycles of maintenance chemo. Thatcher’s recent MRIs have shown he is clear of any tumors!
While there is much to celebrate, Thatcher is now in the process of repairing the damage cancer treatment has done to his entire body. He wears hearing aids to help the irreversible damage some chemo drugs have done to the inner ear, he wears braces on his ankles to help him walk and run, he has a blind spot affecting his vision from one of his six brain surgeries, and he is undergoing testing to determine if his pituitary gland is damaged and might further hinder his growth.
While we don’t know if Thatcher’s cancer will return, we have hope that his treatments have worked and that there will be better options in the future for other kids, thanks to the research being done today. Maybe one day we will finally have a cure to end pediatric cancer. Until then, the strength and resilience of this happy nine-year-old is an example to us all.